One of the most talked about artists of the year is, without a doubt, James Blake. 2010 was a great year for James, and 2011 is looking even better as his self-titled debut album is causing a huge commotion on practically every music and/or hipster blog on the planet. In his post-dub, electronica-rock masterpiece, James Blake captivates the mind and the soul, breaking the guard of even the most stolid of musical snobs. James sets the bar high with this album that it might be hard to top this for the rest of 2011. What he gives you is eleven tracks of unrestrained, naked reflection–a reflection that speaks not only to the listener, but to a generation that is learning to embrace the next wave of musical expression. Although this album isn’t necessarily dance music, the instrumentation combined with the electronic elements merits it as a breakthrough in progression towards an equilibrium, if not an equilibrium itself.
This album has been reviewed to death on other blogs and in magazines, so I’m going to leave the critiquing up to you, the listener. I will, however, give you some suggestions. Keep in mind that this album may not be one that you expect to be posted on this site, so expect to hear chilled out tunes instead of booming house. One of my favorites on the album is I Never Learnt To Share. Simple and haunting lyrics are accompanied by some soft guitar and electronic chords. It rises into a climax of terror and shock, sending you higher into the abyss and finally the beat drops, shrieking and writhing in pain and beauty. Then, it all ends in a moment of joy. Words don’t do it justice; just listen for yourself. Also check out To Care (Like You). It’s another great track that deserves a listen. Lines of synth, soft beats, and keyboard chords flow alongside meaningful vocals on another spellbinding work of art.