Singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini's album These Streets elicits a strong desire to be 19 again—and not just because the Italian-by-blood, Scottish-by-birth-and-accent crooner is himself 19 and dishy. While Nutini's gravelly voice belies his youth, his lyrics and music revel in it. In "Rewind" he laments the end of a relationship: "Remember at 16/ Oh, the crazy drunken night we had/ When I kissed you in the hallway/ Then I took you straight to bed. Well, two years on/ And I'm still that same boy." A boy indeed. His stories, like those of most of the singers he cites as his influences (Al Green, both of the Morrisons, Ray Charles, and Bill Withers), are about broken hearts, loneliness (especially big-city loneliness), and sex. In the title song, he laments "Cross the border/ Into the big bad world/ Where it takes you 'bout an hour/ Just to cross the road/ Just to stumble across another poor old soul from/ The dreary old lanes to the high-street madness." Ironically, the next lines express the same feeling that Nutini's naiveté-laced voice inspires: "Where'd the days go? When all we did was play/And the street that we were under wasn't stress at all/Just a run and a jump into a harmless fall." Youth isn't always wasted on the young.
Mon., Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., 2007