James Blake - Before
Oct 14, 2020
65
James Blake is undoubtedly an all-time favorite artist of mine.

Though this maybe some of my least favorite works of his, it is still decent. While I see this as a step down from his recent singles, they have a character about them that fulfills what a project needs as opposed to a single track. The opening track begins with a cluster of sound that I literally hate but for the most part, the EP only rises and gets better from there. We get a noisy build-up that gets wiped out and is followed by a bubbles sound effect that transitions into piano and echoing vocals. Really starts off on a messy note. The slow pace of the intro may just be the lead up to what is better to come. Production has been better, the production on the second track is very generic for James but luckily the ideas step up in the coming tracks. Also, his strings always sound beautiful. His vocals are some of the cleanest I have heard from him and this is the most vocal augmentation, specifically pitching higher, that he has included in such a short runtime. Frank Ocean and James Blake are kind of evolving stylistically into one. A collab album would be really amazing coming from the two of them. This is probably his most parallel work to a 'Blonde.' A lot of people seemed to take issue with his songwriting with his previous singles, personally I didn't, but judging from the lyricism displayed here, this isn't that much better. A bit of a letdown but I'll obviously be listening to this on repeat. He can most definitely do better, a full length should be able to hopefully ground him back into his constant creative output. I am also kind of disappointed he chose such a boring cover for this project, his previous art direction has always been so conceptually unique or interesting, to me this is just a picture of his reflection matched with some blur, grain, and a basic font. I expect more from James, just glad I got to hear some more of him before the year is over. The greatest advice I could give James right now would be to emphasize on the experimentation and to feel a bit looser when it comes to song structure and writing. His lyricism is starting to tank a bit, he really just needs all loose ends to be tied. Collaboration is my favorite route for him right now.

Color: Periwinkle
Favorite Tracks: Summer Of Now
Worst Tracks: I Keep Calling
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