Bryan Bowen Smith

Matthew Morrison

B-
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May 04, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Glee star gets help from all the right places on his pop debut, collaborating with sure-shot producers and songwriters responsible for hits by Kelly Clarkson and Panic! at the Disco. He even ropes in cameos by Sting, American Idol champ Kris Allen, and sometime costar Gwyneth Paltrow — who inspires Morrison to revisit his Broadway roots on a lush ”Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” (Elton John turns up too for a medley-ized ”Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters/ Rocket Man.”) Despite the sound-of-now sonics, though, Morrison never quite shakes his goody-goody Mr. Schuester vibe: On ”My Name,” he brandishes the word demagogue a little too proudly, and ”Summer Rain,” about getting busy on a rooftop, oozes all the sex appeal of a parent-teacher conference. B?

Download These:
Still Got Tonight, a Coldplay-ish power ballad, at Last.fm
Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot, a bluesy Sting cover

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