It's intriguing to map the influences that informed British soul-pop singer John Newman on his full-length debut—but what's most interesting is the way he transmutes his inspirations into a new musical paradigm. The opening title track starts with a speaking voice reeling off a long list of classic R&B artists to whom he's offering “tribute." The singer's previous life as a house music DJ can be discerned in the insistent, pumping keyboard riffs powering some of the tracks. Yet Tribute is neither neo-soul nor house-gone-pop. "Love Me Again" (already a huge hit before the album was released) exemplifies Tribute's brand of larger-than-life pop propelled by rhythms that blend R&B with club music, adorned with arrangements that operate on an orchestral scale. At the core of it all is Newman's gritty but unfailingly flexible voice, imbuing each tune with an unquestionable level of emotional commitment.

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