Friends That Break Your Heart

James Blake - Friends That Break Your Heart
Critic Score
Based on 23 reviews
2021 Ratings: #465 / 741
User Score
2021 Ratings: #110
Liked by 178 people
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The singer and producer's fifth album digs deeper into introspection, atop some of his most impressive production to date.
A record that simultaneously expands on his delicate production and sees him fully embrace his singer-songwriter alter ego.

Friends That Break Your Heart is some of Blake's best writing in years; there's something interesting to be said for every track, and takes the musician outside of his comfort zone whilst attempting to evolve into a new Blakeian era.

The Independent
Few artists can make such heartbreak sound so pretty, while still reflecting on all its weirdness and complexity.
The Sydney Morning Herald

Disparate textures, sounds and emotions collide on the English producer’s fifth album – true to his goal, it’s an easy, pleasurable listening experience, although the lyrical content can be heavy.

The Observer
Many affecting tracks detail the sharknado of outrage and bewilderment in Blake’s trademark delicate soprano.

Vocally, he’s unsettlingly beautiful.

The Arts Desk
His fifth album offers variety and, for most of its length, defies the listener to box him in as hipper Lewis Capaldi-ish anxiety music.
Spectrum Culture
The album offers some of Blake’s strongest performances and production yet, which, combined with its relatively straightforward beauty, should be more than enough to quell any doubts that his music’s quality would dip with the sacrifice of his earlier experimentation.
Beats Per Minute

For some, this dismal balladry might feel a bit too far removed from the experimentally-textured electronics of his first two albums, yet Blake has found a brilliant way to still be unconventional and accessible at the same time.

Under The Radar

It may present a lesser overall project—the first of his entire career, by the way—but Friends That Break Your Heart is the release of someone comfortable enough in their own artistry to develop uncomfortable ideas into compositions of unrivalled beauty. Blake remains a truly unique force in modern music.

Blake's fragmented post-dubstep has always had an air of bleak melancholy, but nothing he’s done has been quite as self-consciously miserable as this.

Even though Friends That Break Your Heart travels a winding path from experimental rap tracks to the tender balladry that makes up the majority of its final quarter, it's still one of the more accessible, and occasionally predictable, collections of material from Blake.


Throughout Friends That Break Your Heart, Blake is trying on different sounds, different styles, and producing some good music along the way, but he ends the record still unsure of where he should be.

The Line of Best Fit

Friends That Break Your Heart is a pretty on-the-nose title, even by James Blake’s standards. But this isn’t a return to the early melancholic Blake that the title suggests, nor is it a continuation of the most recent Blake, bowled over by love. His fifth studio album is intriguingly somewhere in the middle.


If Assume Form was a sampler of his future artistic trajectory, Friends That Break Your Heart is the case of an artist finding his stride in a new lane — one he's long wanted to be in.

A warm and even-keeled collection of ballads, this is James Blake’s most traditional album, but it offers little in the way of emotional insight.
Evening Standard
The whole thing is a refining of his style, but no great leap.
The Irish Times
Though there are hints of levity, Blake remains a self-effacing lyricist, concerned with the complexities of inner worlds. The darkness is buoyed by some beautiful, melodic writing and spirited production on an album that, though perfectly serviceable, lacks the inventive spark of Blake’s best work.
Crack Magazine
Unlike a lost friend, this is all just so instantly forgettable. For an album so apparently stuffed with feeling, it’s strange to be left so deeply unmoved.
Loud and Quiet

Where Blake’s past albums have sent analogue worlds into orbit, Friends That Break Your Heart instead feels like an office chair spinning into a discernible kaleidoscope of plastic and limbs.


Although more immediate, Friends That Break Your Heart is not a watered down pop version of James Blake, it is on the contrary a deeply liberating act that offers us this collection of ballads as hypnotic as emotional.

I would like first of all before launching into the analysis of this new album to specify that James Blake remains probably one of the favorite Pop/Electronic artists of this last decade and one undeniably underestimated. I find him very singular, in-fluent, bewitching, ... read more


Em "Friends That Break Your Heart", James Blake lança um excelente disco contando com 12 baladas com letras inteligentes e belos vocais.

As letras abordam temas relacionados a sensação de se decepcionar com um amigo ou o fim de uma amizade, as musicas "Famous Last Words" e "Funeral" demonstram muito o quão é triste essa sensação e como isso afeta o emocional da pessoa e eu como alguém que já passou por ... read more


James Blake drops 'Friends That Break Your Heart' and it's an absolutely beautiful album that captures the heartbreak that follows loosing friendships and when friends disappoint when it matters. James Blake has musically taken a conservative approach, not taking any large risks but still coming up with a lovely, lively atmosphere that keeps up with James Blake wherever he chooses to venture, with a lo-fi backdrop creatively working with James Blake's lavish, delicate vocals. Coming into this ... read more


fav: famous last words, life is not the same, coming back, frozen, show me, say what you will, lost angel nights, friends that break, your heart, if i'm insecure
least: i'm so blessed you're mine


stunning. this is probably everything i could ever ask for in a james blake album. god i love this man.


Ten years ago I saw James Blake play live at Sankeys nightclub in Manchester just as the self-titled debut album was released. It was a magnificent performance, even if Blake back then was very reserved – only just adding vocals into his repertoire. Sophomore album Overgrown was a bold step forwards that really felt like an artist finding their footing, and yet the two albums that followed I found to be surprisingly patchy, even if they did take Blake to new found stardom. Even with a hit ... read more

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Added on: July 22, 2021