The Colour In Anything is James Blake's third studio album following 2013's Overgrown, a record I find quite great throughout it's 40 minute runtime even with Blake moving away from the aesthetically unique adventure of dubstep and art pop presented from his self-titled record. Here on The Colour In Anything, James Blake provides us with his longest record to date, sitting at 17 tracks and a 75 minute runtime, this one proves to be a behemoth of it's own.
So, first thoughts for many would be if Blake has the ability to hold his own for a record of this length. I've previously expressed my love for self-titled and appreciation for Overgrown, and I think their tighter tracklists keep the quality of the record in tact with few tracks that drag or feel like filler in any way. On The Colour In Anything, this sentiment of James holding his own stays the same for the most part, as James continuously provides one really strong track after the other throughout this record. However, this record does show more cracks in it than any of his other records up to this point, as while there aren't any inherently bad tracks, there are tracks that just simply don't stick out nearly as much as other cuts on this record, primarily towards the last quarter of the record. But, even with that, James Blake's talents as a songwriter, vocalist, and producer still remain in tact, and we still get plenty of beautiful tracks.
Sonically here, the record sees James in a mostly ambient pop aesthetic, much like Overgrown, but with a slightly more consistent sound palette and even less of the dubstep influences that came in here and there on Overgrown, and a load more on self-titled. Definitely his most ambient sounding stuff to date for the most part, where you'll get ballads such as Love Me in Whatever Way or Waves Know Shores that feel just in tune for a James Blake record alongside weird fusions of electronica and techno with tracks like I Hope My Life or Noise Above Our Heads. You even get your simple piano ballads such as f.o.r.e.v.e.r. or the title track for those who like that more singer-songwriter side to Blake's music. Regardless of what James is doing here, there's clearly more of an attempt towards a sonic cohesion that still provides enough variety throughout the runtime to keep you interested.
Lyrically, Blake discusses the sentiments that came with his last relationship, whether it be pleas towards a rekindling or rebuilding with songs such as the Bon Iver assisted I Need A Forest Fire or the opener Radio Silence, which talks on the lack of communication leading to the ultimate failure of a relationship in this certain situation. Blake also provides insight to some of his own personal struggles and beliefs, whether it be f.o.r.e.v.e.r. being a pessimistic view on the idea of relationships lasting forever when life situations can bring two people apart, or Blake's struggles with writer's block and resorting to using weed to try and feel creatviely free again on Put That Away and Talk to Me. Regardless, you'll get your fair share of James Blake balladry and overall melancholic artsiness that he continuously provides throughout his entire catalog.
And yeah, if The Colour in Anything proves Blake's consistency as a vocalist and songwriter within the art pop/alternative R&B scene. Even on a longer record like this, he can still deliver poetic ballads that are packed with loads of emotion while still being easy on the ears and generally very easy to throw on. It might not be as crazy as his first two records, but it still provides a lot of emotional prowess and soothing pieces of music that are simply delightful, even if it loses a bit of footing towards the end.
Love Me In Whatever Way-83
Put That Away And Talk To Me-82
I Hope My Life - 1-800 Mix-80
Waves Know Shores-92
My Willing Heart-86
I Need A Forest Fire-95
Noise Above Our Heads-90
The Colour In Anything-73
Two Men Down-71
Meet You In The Maze-66
|1||Radio Silence / 88|
|2||Points / 82|
|3||Love Me in Whatever Way / 83|
|4||Timeless / 85|
|5||F.O.R.E.V.E.R. / 76|
|6||Put That Away and Talk to Me / 82|
|7||I Hope My Life / 80|
|8||Waves Know Shores / 92|
|9||My Willing Heart / 86|
|10||Choose Me / 75|
|11||I Need A Forest Fire / 95|
|12||Noise Above Our Heads / 90|
|13||The Colour in Anything / 73|
|14||Two Men Down / 71|
|15||Modern Soul / 81|
|16||Always / 75|
|17||Meet You in the Maze / 66|