James Blunt Back To Bedlam Album
Review The Album (1)
|Release information about the album|
Release Date: 03/01/2004
Tracks in Back To Bedlam: High, You're Beautiful, Wise Men, Goodbye My Lover, Tears And Rain, Out Of My Mind, So Long, Jimmy, Billy, Cry, No Bravery
Back To Bedlam Album Tracklist:
- High Lyrics
- You're Beautiful Lyrics
- Wise Men Lyrics
- Goodbye My Lover Lyrics
- Tears And Rain Lyrics
- Out Of My Mind Lyrics
- So Long, Jimmy Lyrics
- Billy Lyrics
- Cry Lyrics
- No Bravery Lyrics
Best debut album in a decade | Reviewer: Steve Wilson | 6/27/2005
Ladies and gentlemen please be upstanding for Mr. James Blunt.
The British Army, particularly the British Guard regiments, from which Blunt has recently emerged, are not known for churning out sensitive souls with multi-instrument ability and a talent for lyrics that get right to the heart of the matter. Here, however we have living proof that it can happen.
Back to Bedlam is a storming debut, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s the best debut album I’ve heard in a decade.
He opens with “High”, an anthem for renewal, love and eternal hope. This is Robbie Williams with a Literature degree, its catchy, thoughtful, knee-drumming sophistication that makes you want to drive along an ocean road in a soft-top car holding hands with a significant other.
Track two offers what must surely be a rip roaring commercial success. “You’re Beautiful” tells of a chance encounter with a pretty young filly on a tube train and its here that we hear, for the first time after the muted, high production of the opener, the glory that is the Blunt voice.
If someone’s soul could sing it would surely sound like James Blunt. Bizarrely, there’s a lifetime of love, pain, despair and beauty in those relatively immature tones. Its far from technically perfect but that just makes it better, the strain in the higher registers is a thing of grace and wonder.
The third track “Wise Men” is a genuine contender for track of the album, an ambient dance back beat with a doleful lyric that explodes every couple of verses into a spit-in-your eye tribute to that genius that was Elton John before he became Dame Edna Everage. The cadence of “pernickety little bastards” has to bring a smile.
Goodbye My Lover, the fourth track must have Simon “Bless” Bates crying into his jigsaw puzzle that he retired before he had the opportunity to play this for “Barry from Cheltenham who’s sending it out to Tracey in Swindon”. It’s a real cigarette-lighter-held-aloft belter but even so its remarkably well written. Anyone who’s even been in, and then out of a relationship will find something here. A cracker.
Okay, stop, pause, and steady yourself for the voice. “Tears and Rain” takes that arrow to the soul that is the Blunt voice, points it at your ticker and lets go. This isn’t some college boy writing about love , hate, death and joy, this is a guy who commanded troops in the killing fields of the Balkans and has seen the worst and best that humanity has to offer. Its in that voice, listen to it in a weaker moment and the lump in the throat is a guarantee.
Even something this good needs a quiet moment, and the sixth track, “Out of My Mind” is a pleasing little moment of introspection but no great shakes given its illustrious bedmates. “I wont be your concubine, I’m a prophet not a whore” gives us something to chew over while we wait for the seventh track “So Long Jimmy”.
The song begins with a mildly concerning flirtation with Tracey Chapmanesque guitar hook tedium before James lets us know that he was pulling our leg all along, puts on his pork pie hat and pumps up the Hammond organ for the chorus. Wahey !
While “Out of My Mind” and “So Long Jimmy” complement the album without necessarily strengthening it, normal service is restored by the eighth track and another “best of breed” contender.
“Billy” is not a prodigal son, he’s a very naughty boy and he gets the years best chorus to tell us all about it. Try this…… listen to this song while sitting on a couch and when it hits the “Tomorrow comes…” start to the chorus, try not to bounce like Abba’s Benny Andersson on a Space Hopper. Impossible. A great, boot in the arse motivator of a song.
I’ll say , little about tracks nine and ten, “Cry” and “No Bravery” respectively, and not because they’re no good, quite the contrary, especially the latter. These tracks though are quite evidently written about Blunt’s time in Kosovo and there is material in there that everyone needs to make their own mind up about, as an ex-soldier myself I find it touching in parts and harrowing in others but extremely worthwhile nonetheless.
Back to Bedlam is the best ten quid you’ll spend this year and if this guy doesn’t become huge it’s a disgrace. The lyrics are masterful and when allied to the voice, that voice, they become, quite simply a soul stirring experience. Its every pain, hope, fear and joy you’ve ever experiences condensed into forty minutes.
Its more than just words, its tears and rain. Believe it. Brilliant.
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