James Blake - James Blake
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2011 Ratings: #38 / 919
Year End Rank: #8
User Score
Based on 855 ratings
2011 Ratings: #19
February 8, 2011 / Release Date
LP / Format
Atlas, A&M / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Tiny Mix Tapes

It’s a desperately lonely set of songs that will certainly take time to settle, but there could be no better time to start doing so than the dead of winter.

100
A.V. Club

Though it’s a walking contradiction—the living embodiment of less-is-more, born of the Information Age—James Blake somehow makes perfect sense.

100
Consequence of Sound

James Blake is an essential for anybody interested in witnessing how pop music can and will continue to change, progress, and grow into something new with time.

100
The 405
To put it simply, this album is an incredible exploration into what electronic music can be when it is fully composed by someone who understands music as a whole.
100
The Skinny
Sublimely atmospheric and accomplished, this runner-up in the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll might yet prove to be the winner.
90
Pitchfork

Horgeous, indelible tunes that are as generous in content as they are restrained in delivery.

90
No Ripcord

James Blake is an astonishing record, an early contender for album of the year and could well change the face of popular music.

90
Clash

This understated flow may wrong-foot hype seekers, but just permit the beautiful structures to bubble over your ears as his warbled, testing vocals chase silence around.

85
Paste
With a stripped-down, uncluttered sound, Blake’s creations are hauntingly beautiful. His voice echoes soulfully throughout his self-titled album, with lyrics as deliberate as the heavy beats that accentuate each track.
85
Beats Per Minute

He achieves a lot with a little. He never gives us filler. He continues to innovate. He has provided us with a great album, one that is a sure sign his velocity has not been slowed.

82
Coke Machine Glow
If, at most, this album is a testament to encyclopedic impulse, to mathematical soul, then, well, Blake is so good at so much that it, at its best, can start to resemble the product of intuition anyway.
80
musicOMH

This album will inevitably disappoint those who had their hopes pinned on Blake producing the definitive instrumental dubstep masterpiece.

80
PopMatters

It’s every bit as challenging, forward-thinking, and interesting as those previous EPs.

80
The Guardian
James Blake's debut is not an easy listen, but it's exactly what modern pop needs
70
Rolling Stone

U.K. dance music subgenres don’t usually produce soulful singer-songwriters ... But in James Blake, the squish-grooved London club throb called dubstep just got its very own emotive song stylist.

60
AllMusic

The rest of the tracks are more like exercises in sound manipulation and reduction than songs. The approach is no fault, but Blake pares it down to such an extent that the material occasionally sounds not just tentative but feeble, fatigued.

60
NME

Elsewhere Blake’s silences don’t weigh as heavy as he thinks they do, and 'James Blake' is too calculated an act of daring to really shine.

60
Under The Radar

The highs are notable. The problem is, Blake has put himself in a tight box, and when he strays out of it the material wavers.

60
XLR8R

Blake's voice and poetry strain to take us anywhere we haven't already been with more experienced inner-space travelers at the helm. Furthermore, his music has become inexplicably ponderous and static, at times seeming to stop dead in its tracks and not move forward at all.

50
Drowned in Sound

Boldness, you realise, is not the same thing as greatness, and James Blake is not a great album.

40
NOW Magazine

Devoid of effects, echoes or electronic eeriness, his quivering timbre is exposed as maudlin, his lyrics trite.

Gyro64
95
James Blake's debut is a personal album with many melancholic themes from past experiences. As crushing as this album is James still manages to clearly explain how he feels and that was what mostly resonated with me while listening. The weird productions choices on here did work at times but with some songs the boundaries were pushed too far for my taste.

EDIT: Yeah so as expected the production really grew on me and also read the lyrics and it kinda blew my mind how really really personal ... read more
Plats
95
James Blake's debut is full of pretty, dubstep-influenced sounds and experimentation coupled with James' hauntingly beautiful voice.

Fav Tracks: I Never Learnt To Share, The Wilhelm Scream, Limit To Your Love, Unluck, I Mind, Measurements, To Care (Like You), Give Me My Month

Least Fav Track: Lindisfarne I

Score:
9.5
Amazing
TreyLikesBands
96
Amazing

I was really sleeping on this one. James Blake's self-titled debut is a lonely, melancholy, and expansive experience. With plinky, ambient tones and spacious electronics, Blake created one of the weirdest and most different experiences one could find on a single album.

Color: Grey
FAV TRACKS: I Never Learnt to Share, Limit to Your Love, Unluck, Lindesfarne II, Give Me My Mouth, To Care (Like You)
LEAST FAV: I Mind
zachthesnack
83
Everything that James puts out is immensely beautiful and I am just finding myself continuously astounded by it.
KIDWITHGUNs
93
POWERHOUSE

[SJO Counter: 45]

Bruh, I need the good succ after this. Man or woman.
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Track List

  1. Unluck 
  2. The Wilhelm Scream 
  3. I Never Learnt to Share 
  4. Lindesfarne I 
  5. Lindesfarne II 
  6. Limit to Your Love 
  7. Give Me My Month
  8. To Care (Like You) 
  9. Why Don't You Call Me 
  10. I Mind 
  11. Measurements
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