Final Rating : 7/10
This is James Blake’s fourth album to date. The multi talented artist released this album on May 5th. The 17 track album contains a variety of emotion, electronical aspects, and breath taking vocals. The vocals are very soft throughout the album, but still intense. The album utilizes repetition throughout (vocals, lyrics, and instrumentals), and it is done so in a way that is very strategic and makes the album what it is.
James Blakes has a very unique style to his electronic stylized back tracking. I may be slightly biased to this album because I am not largly attracted to electronic music included with this style of singing however, he did slightly sway me with the way he did include these electronical aspects because they are so unique. Electronic’s can sometimes be distracting to the true emotion of a song, as well as the vocal ability within a song. Sometimes the sound can be so overwhelming and “loud”, and it can really take away from the track as opposed to adding to it. This did not happen too often throughout the album however, it did happen within a couple of tracks. In the track “Two Men Down”, the sound was very unnatractive- it was almost like a bad club beat, as well as with “I Hope My Life – 1-800 Mix”. These song’s they are good song’s and have great potential to be something to much better if it weren’t for the electronics. I also found that electronic aspects also did not work within the track “Always”; when the female vocalist within the song would sing “Always”, it would skip and it was somewhat irritating, and not flattering toward the track. With this being said, they pretty much worked throughout the rest of the album.
Choose Me was a really epic track. It was the more up beat track out of the rest of the album, including some nice bass and deeper background vocals. There were some nice overlapping of James throughout the track with some personal lyrics such as “I’d rather you chose me every day”, and “I looked into myself like a case with you; you don’t weigh me down like you think you do”. This track includes so much intensity between background vocals, emotions, and the upbeat. Sometimes when emotional songs are upbeat it can take away from the emotion however within this track, it only added to it.
“I Need A Forest Fire” featuring Bon Iver was an interesting collaboration, and it worked very well. The two do have similar singing styles in a sense that they are both slightly “faded” in a way. It included a very extended Bon Iver style introduction, and had this continouis beeping sound in the background that made the track different. I was expecting slightly more being a Bon Iver, but it was still a very well done track.
“The Colour In Anything” blew my mind, it was an amazing track. This track honestly broke my heart in a sense, with such intricate and honest lyrics. Although it is an extremely sad track, it is beautifully honest and has the most beautiful display of vocals throughout the entire album. This track is so upsetting because it is essentially a realization of things not being how they were expected to be, and almost a loss of hope. There is also some beautiful piano included in this track here, heavily adding to the intimacy of the song.
Overall this is a very emotional album and its definitely worth a straight through listen. The highlights within this album would be the vocals, and intimate lyrics.