Duffy is like a kinder, gentler Amy Winehouse: Her blond hair, English-rose complexion and the lack of any real edge to her music ensures marketability. Witness the use of "Mercy," her international smash, in numerous commercials prior to her debut release.

But Duffy's story doesn't begin and end here. There is that voice—one minute assertive and the next pleading. This Welsh songbird, most ably assisted by Bernard Butler's flawless production and co-writing, exhibits a razor-sharp sensibility that leaves her contemporaries in the dust. The Brits have always had a peculiar knack for remarketing American music back to us, from the Stones and Beatles to Ms. Winehouse and, now, Duffy, whose Rockferry arrives like a well-studied love letter to American pop.

Potentially massive stuff, too, but ultimately vapid.


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