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*Warning* this review contains nice comments about James Blunt.
Friends have never understood my choice of music, but no one has been criticised as much as James Blunt. I can't understand why as he has an amazing voice - singing and speaking plus the tracks are easy to listen to and well written. I was surprised to find out that this was released in 2004 as I thought it was much later than that. The producers are Warner Music Group Co.
I am not a musician so can't explain about the chords and rifts and things, but give an opinion having listened to them. One thing I do like about him - apart from his amazing good looks and voice - is the fact that he does not seem to take himself seriously. Some of the tracks are a total contrast to the fun loving man that we see interviewed and this one is just as impressive.
High - written by Blunt and Ross
This is a bit of a hard song to understand, although he puts his ability to reach high notes to good use throughout the track. I don't know if it is about a place he was happy or the place he is now - it could be the same place I know. He seems to feel strongly about it and while it is not the best written song, there are some well written lines
"Beautiful dawn - You're just blowing my mind again. Thought I was born to endless night, until you shine."
It is well known that he served in the Army so it may be the dawn in a far away land - glad to see the dawn as he has made it through the night. Towards the ends of each line he elongates the word and holds the tune perfectly. It is quite a short track and far from my favourite. This is one of the more cheerful tracks on the album and I give it 7/10
You're Beautiful - written by Blunt, Skarbek, Ghost.
Maybe because this did so well I got a little bored with it. It spent a lot of time at number 1 and I feel that there were better tracks that should have had that honour. It is about a fleeting sighting of someone on the subway and how he contemplates his future knowing that she will not e part of it.
The lyrics are not too clear as we never find out what the plan is. Unless it is carry on with his life and not have her as part of it.
She smiled at me on the subway. She was with another man. But I won't lose no sleep on that, 'Cause I've got a plan.
There is a part of this song that I switch of when my nephew is in the car as he sings it a little differently to the way he does on the single. Here he claims that
"she could see from my face that I was f****** high" as opposed to "flying high" on the radio,
This is another track where James is able to show off his range and gets the high notes time and time again. The music to this is quite basic and gives him the chance to make the song the star, but as it is repeated there is not a lot of substance so I will say 5/10. It is not a song that he is precious about as he has parodied it on Sesame Street singing it as "My Triangle"
Wise Men - written by Blunt, Skarbek and Hogarth.
I found it hard to work out what this was about so had a quick look on the internet and there seems to be 2 different stories. One is that it is about James and 3 people who bullied him and on reflection he is pointing out who has the better life
"look whose alone now, it's not me it's not me"
Another theory is that it is about 3 British soldiers who raped and killed a Danish girl in Cyprus. They were sentenced and charged with manslaughter not murder as they were too drunk or high to have planned it.
"And they're really sorry now for what they've done, they were three Wise Men just trying to have some fun."
I do like this but would prefer to understand it. Considering both views are serious, it it still quite an upbeat track and is easy to sing along to. 7/10
Goodbye My Lover - written by Blunt music by Skarbek
For me this is the best track on the album and it has finally got to the James Blunt that I love listening to. It is another track that shows off his range and the music fits perfectly with the feelings put into the track.
I like the idea of the darkness at the beginning and how he is looking back at a relationship.
"So I took what's mine by eternal right. Took your soul out into the night. It may be over but it won't stop there, I am here for you if you'd only care."
There have been reports that this is about the break-up a relationship that James thought would last forever. It changes from him being the person in control
"Yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won."
then nearer the end
"And I love you, I swear that's true. I cannot live without you".
"You have been the one. You have been the one for me."
Whatever the real meaning, it is a powerful track to listen to. It has become popular for funerals although there is nothing to say that it is about the death of a person just the relationship. By far my favourite, and one that often gets played over and over on long car drives. 10/10
Tears and Rain - Blunt and Chambers
This is another track that is full of emotion but not easy to understand. It could be regret for events in the past and fear for what is to come. Is it about his time in the army or about relationships he has had?
"All pleasure's the same, it just keeps me from trouble. Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray."
This could be putting a brave face on things and not giving into the pain but having pleasure in his life and being who is wants to be and not hiding anymore. As I like Oscar Wilde I also like the Dorian Gray reference. 8/10
Out of My Mind - written by Blunt
I can easily imagine this being about insecurity and fear of failing. He is in a world obsessed by looks and youth and one day he will get older and his looks will change.
"It's touching that the monkey sits on my shoulder. He's waiting for the day when he gets me"
It is quite a short track and not a particular favourite. It is sung in quite a monotone way and there are none of the ranges of voice that are found in other tracks. Another one that gets 7/10
So Long Jimmy - written by Blunt and Hogarth
I have heard a number of reports that this is about someone he served with in Afghanistan and they were killed. They always had a guitar and played for the rest of the troops. If this is true it is an amazing tribute to them. There is also the fact that both of the writers are James and it could have been about themselves.
"Though you only stayed a moment, we all know that you're the one. Singing,"
Could it be that he is unsure how long his career will last. When "You're Beautiful" became a hit there was a lot of publicity and he may have feared it would go as soon as it came.
From the other point there is the idea of it being about a former colleague. The man had a profound effect and I would like to think that it is a tribute.
"Are you just cool and I'm just baked? Does everyone get mesmerized by your fire?"
I feel that this does have a lot of sentiment to it so whatever the reason is, it is something that was very close to him. The opening lines seem to be a little childish in their style and it could have been that he did not want to get too involved when singing it. This is another one that I give 8/10.
Billy - written by Blunt, Ghost, Skarbek
This seems to be quite clearly someone looking back at the mistakes they made. They seemed to have the person they wanted and then cheated on them and have been caught out.
"Once he was a lover sleeping with another. Now he's just known as a cheat".
Considering the topic it is a bright and lively song. He shows how powerful his voice can be and how well he can hold long notes. The chorus is very easy to remember and this was one that I found I was singing along to more than the others. It gets 9/10 for being so memorable.
Cry - written by Blunt and Skarbek
Throughout this seems to be about friendship although maybe more a female friend than a male one. A friend that he feels pity for and want to help. It is the one that makes me feel the most sad as he sings about death and loss with such feeling.
"I have seen birth. I have seen death. Lived to see a lover's final breath."
Again there could be elements of war as the death and lover's final breath could be different incidents. I tend not to listen to music as much as lyrics and a voice but this has something about it that makes the music just as important. I am getting a bit consistent here - another 9/10
No Bravery - written by Blunt and Skarbek
I found this the most emotional of all the tracks. Often there are songs about war but few of them have been written by people who have been there. As I have a particular interest in the war poets I felt a connection to this song. I loved the track but hate the fact that this may have been written from exact experience.
Unfortunately I think it has been as on this track the singer is Capt J. Blunt whereas all the others are J Blunt.
The war is shown from the people's eyes and not the soldiers, showing the horrors that happen to people who have no way to fight back.
"Old men kneel to accept their fate. Wives and daughters cut and raped. A generation drenched in hate."
Despite the subject matter being so sad I still think that it deserves 10/10 if only because it shows the innocents who suffer in war.
Reading back I am aware that I keep talking about his voice and his range but it really is impressive. He has music to all his tracks but carries the song well himself. I have bought other CDs of his but still find "Goodbye My Lover" to be my joint favourite track of all - 1973 is the other one.
It is currently the 16th highest selling UK album of the 21st Century and as would be imagined got to No 1 being the decades best-selling album 2000-2009. 8 of the tracks have been used for adverts or in films.
This album was released a few years ago now but it's still one of my most played albums.
The reason why I love this album so much is because it's packed full of feelings and emotion. The album is very personal to James and most of the songs featured sing about love and loss. The album is quite sad in places, although you can relate to most of the songs on a personal level and this makes the album come across as more inspiring than depressing.
To be honest I love the whole album. There's not one bad song on it, and that's the truth. The album contains ten songs so it isn't too long in length. James has kept it short and sweet so that the songs become more memorable. There's four singles on the album which you'll probably already be familar with. My favourite song is You're Beautiful which is a gorgeous love song about a girl that James liked for a while, yet he knew nothing was going to become of it. I also love Goodbye My Lover, even though it's one of the most emotional songs I have ever heard. The song has beautiful lyrics that are very meaningful and thought provoking.
The album itself is what I would describe as indie pop. It's mostly ballads so if you dislike ballads I would avoid this. I wouldn't describe the album as boring, although some people do.
I would recommend this album. It's great and very well written.
BACK TO BEDLAM
This review is of an album that belongs to my mum, but I tend to listen to it a lot more than she does (as is what happens with most of her albums).
The album in question is Back to Bedlam by a singer called James Blunt. I'm sure you will have heard at least one or two of his songs, he is quite famous and although he hasn't been in the charts that much recently, he has been in the charts quite a lot until a couple of years back.
The genre of music featured on the album is generally known as english soft rock, it has been given different genres by different people though, such as folk, soul and even jazz (!). I would probably just call it soft rock though.
I find all the songs on the album quite relaxing, and they are generally all a bit slow tempo. There is nothing too fast, or upbeat or anything like that. It definitely isn't the kind of music you'd hear playing in night clubs. It's all just a bit slow, and quite calming, and in my opinion it's just nice to listen to, really.
This album was brought out with the record label Custard Records and was released on 11th October 2004. It is an American record label best known for its success with James Blunt. I must admit I have never heard of any of the other singers/ groups that this record label manages.
By the sounds of it this album was quite an acheivement for James, particularly as it is his first album. It was the best selling album of the decade 2000-2009 in the UK, according to Radio 1 chart of the decade, 28th December 2009.
James Hillier Blount (James Blunt is his stage name) was born on 22 February 1974, in England. He brought this particular album out in 2005 and shot to fame almost immediately. He has since won many awards for his music, including two Brit awards, and he has also been nominated for a Grammy award.
As well as taking care of the vocals for his album, I was mildly impressed when I discovered that James Blunt also plays a wide variety of other instruments including the guitar, piano and the violin.
James Blunt's father was a Colonel in the British Army Air Corps, and following in his footsteps, Blunt served in a Cavalry regiment of the British Army, and served under NATO in Kosovo during the conflict there in 1999. Apparently ever since the 10th century a running tradition in his family has been that they all served in the army. Something else I found quite interesting about him is that he acheived his pilot's licence at the young age of only sixteen years old. I was very surprised when I read this on wikipedia and I didn't believe it, but I've checked other sites online and it turns out it is actually true. Very impressive. Nowadays he's living it up in Ibiza (bit of an unexpected place for someone like him, I thought).
I have to admit it, I do find James Blunt very irritating. When I first heard his songs five years ago, I thought they were dreadful. I couldn't believe anyone would want to listen to his voice - it just went through me. Well, how things have changed! I was reading somewhere the other day that tastes change with time, and I can vouch for it, they definitelty do. Nowadays I really enjoy listening to James Blunt's music but four or five years ago I would have never expected that I would ever like it.
I still find him irritating, though. I don't know what it is about him, I'm sure he's a really nice person, but I just can't watch his videos or it puts me off the music.
But the music, I have to say, is beautiful.
There are ten tracks on the album and if you listen to it the whole way through without any interruptions or without changing any tracks then it runs through for just under forty minutes. I think there is a nice selection of songs on the album and there aren't any I really dislike although I would say there are a couple of weak links here and there, as I indicated under specific criteria.
Something with the structure of the tracklisting that I feel I should mention here, is the fact that all his best songs (in my opinion) are at the beginning - these are the songs that have been released as singles. With most albums I listen to I always find that the ones that have been released as singles are spread out over the album, but with this one they all seem to be hunched up at the beginning. I think the listing would have been better on this album if they had been spread over, but still I'm not going to complain too much as you can always change the track quite easily on the CD player.
Here is the tracklisting on the album. I've talked about some of the songs underneath the list, only the ones that I paricularly like or which I feel I have something to say about. I'm not going to talk about all of them as I don't want to bore you with unneccessary information and you don't really need to know about them all anyway. I think if I did write a bit about each one then I'd end up saying more or less the same each time - and that's not to say all the tracks are alike.
You're Beautiful [3.36]
Goodbye my lover [4.23]
Tears and Rain [4.07]
Out of my mind [3.38]
So long, Jimmy [4.35]
No Bravery [4.02]
This is the first track played on the album and it was also released as a single. It starts out with the lyrics "beautiful dawn, lights up the shores for me". I think as a track it is quite easy to listen to, and is quite soothing, and soft. Sometimes when I listen to this one it can make me feel really relaxed, and is like a lullaby at night time - it helps you get to sleep if you listen to it in bed. It sounds like it is being played by acoustic guitars in the beginning and then the drums come in, soft at first, although I'm no musical genius this is just my guess. I like in the chorus how he holds the notes on the words "hiiiggghhhh" and "timmmeeee" - I think it sounds brilliant and is a really delicate, beautiful sound. This is a great song to kick the album off with.
This song was also released as a single and has probably brought Blunt the most success out of all the other songs he has written. I really like this one. It really is a beautiful track amn when I listen to it makes me feel quite uplifted and happy. The lyrics go as follows:
you're beautiful, it's true
there must be an angel
with a smile on her face
when she thought up that I should be with you"
Goodbye my Lover
I love this song. It's very emotional and in some ways quite sad, but mostly I think it is beautiful and lovely to listen to. When you play this and listen to it, it will fill you up with emotions and you will just love how it sounds. This is one of my favourite songs. Some parts, when he sings them, are quite fast but then it slows out towards the end of the line and becomes quite soft and sounds really heart felt and emotional. I think it's probably the songs like this that make some people categorise his music under the genre of soul.
Out of my Mind
This is probably the most exciting, sort of fast tempo song on the album. I like his voice at the beginning of this song, and in the other verses. He sounds quite different compared to how he does in most of his other songs and I really like this difference. When it gets to the chorus of this song although you can't really understand the words he is singing that well, you still have this sort of small urge to sing along, and move about a bit, at least. His voice does sound quite high in the chorus but it works for me. This is definitely a contrast to most of his other songs on the album and I think it is really good.. I just really love how quick he sings the words in the beginning and in the verses.
If you listen to the lyrics to this slow tune you will be able to understand why it has been rather appropriately given this title. "I've seen death. . ." - it certainly isn't the jolliest of songs. But it is a nice melody which I quite enjoy listening to near the end of the album. I think he makes good use of his voice in this song, as it sounds really great in this one more than some of his others.
This isn't the title of a song, this is an actual warning! It says on the back of the CD that the album contains lyrics of an adult nature. There is some swearing in some songs so I wouldn't really recommend leaving young children alone to listen to the album.
As for the rest of us, who are allowed to listen to this, I would describe the lyrics as being well written and quite interesting to listen to, but not poetic. I would say they are thought provoking as I have indicated under specific criteria, but I would probably not say they are interesting enough to be called sublime just because they aren't always.
The album cover for this album is bright blue in colour, which is a very happy and cheery looking cover compared to some of the quite sad, deep and emotional songs inside. You can see what the album looks like in the picture near the top of the page. The album I have next to me right now is more sky blue compared to the darker, royal blue in the picture - and you can also get a black and grey version which I think has red writing on it.
As well as the background colour, the album also has a picture of James Blunt's face. It is sort of shadowed out, which I think is probably better than having an actual photograph of him. There is quite an interesting border around the bottom and right hand side of the album, which you can't see that well in the picture but it is quite interesting.
The disc itself is a deep red colour, with white text bordering around the edges. There is a picture of a green and white tablet at the bottom of the disc, on one half it says '20mg' and on the other half it says 'James Blunt'. I'm not really sure what this is all about and wouldn't go as far as to say it is interesting, but I suppose you could call it thought-provoking.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
I just checked the HMV website where this costs £9.99. It is described on their website as being 'back in stock in 7 days' so I'm guessing it must be sold out - for an album that was released in 2004, six years ago, to me this says it is quite a popular album.
From Play.com this album is £4.99 with free delivery so you'd be saving money, obviously, if you decided to get it from here rather than HMV.
You should also be able to find this on auction sites like Amazon and eBay.
Overall I would recommend this album to anyone who likes listening to slow paced music. If you like artists such as Damien Rice, maybe Westlife, that kind of music then I'm sure you will love listening to the music delight which is this album by James Blunt. There are some really beautiful songs on this album which are nice and relaxing to listen to and in no time at all, if you like this sort of music, I am sure you will find yourself hooked to the album and you will have to keep listening to it over and over again, like I do.
For £4.99 with free delivery I think this is excellent value for money, as I have indicated in specific criteria. I really like the album. The only disadvantage I have included is the person who sings on it - because many people do seem to find James Blunt annoying and I have to say sometimes I do agree with these people. You could always have a look on YouTube at some of his videos to see if you like the style he has and which features in his songs.
Thank you for reading x
2) You're Beautiful
4) Goodbye My Lover
5) Tears And Rain
6) Out Of My Mind
7) So Long Jimmy
10) No Bravery
Once voted by British people as the second most annoying thing in the world (caravans came first) this much-maligned former Household Cavalryman seems to have a knack of polarising views to an extent that few before him have ever achieved - and his first album, Back To Bedlam - attracts opinions that are much more varied than the contents of the album itself.
Personally, I think the album is ok - even bordering on good - but my main criticism of it would be the similarity of a lot of the songs. So much so that I find it impossible to give a track-by-track analysis and find enough to say about each song.
Most people will be familiar with the album's signature track, You're Beautiful, and this is typical of what you will find on the rest of the album: strummy acoustic guitars, simple pleasing harmonies, well-written meaningful lyrics and that little-bit-posh, little-bit-whiney, little-bit-nasal voice that wouldn't sound out of place narrating a Famous Five story.
A few of the songs do stir me emotionally (especially Goodbye My Lover) and, on the whole, it is an album that I ocassionally enjoy listening to from start to finish. I would guess that this opinion is secretly shared by a lot of people who would never admit it because of the bad press that Blunt himself has received.
Back To Bedlam is James Blunts debut album that was released in 2004. He began work with the army but soon discovered his passion and talent in music. Some of his army roots still show through in some of his songs such as No Bravery. James' music is very unique (sort of a cross between soul/acoustic/pop) and his songwriting skills are something to be desired. This album was met with mixed reviews and In my opinion this album is more suited to females (although I love it). The songs and my ratings are as follows:
1 - High - A terrific way to start a terrific album. It straight away shows off his variable voice hitting the top notes and low notes perfectly. Some great lyrics and thought behind this song and is definitely one of the albums better songs. 8.5/10
2 - You're Beautiful - Probably the album's most recognizable and best song on the album. Everybody I've spoke to seems to like at least something about the song. The lyrics are great and the song is so unique. Much more of a lovely type of song, more for the girls i'd have thought than the lads but a great song none the less with some great ranged vocals. Even though the video is a bit weird. 9.5/10
3 - Wisemen - A very unique song with unique lyrics. A quite popular song understandably despite some unnecessary swear words put in for no real reason. Still a good song though. 8/10
4 - Goodbye My Lover - A very moving, slow and impressive song. The lyrics and vocals are so unique and "lovely" - very much like an acoustic song. Keeps up well with the consistency of the other tracks. 8.5/10
5 - Tears and Rain - Probably currently my favorite track on the album. The lyrics are perfect and the vocals match. Very soothing and chilling and even if you don't normally like his music, give this song a go. 9.5/10
6 - Out Of My Mind - This is the point where the album starts to deteriorate for me. The song has much more of a beat to it than previous songs but it's just too average for my liking's. 6/10
7 - So Long Jimmy - This song is sort of a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix. But this doesn't make it a good song. Once again it's pretty average and doesn't keep up with the standards of the first 5 songs. 6/10
8 - Billy - Never been a huge fan of this song. It's a pretty simple song with a chorus that sticks in your mind. But other than that, it's still quite average for a man with such talent. 6.5/10
9 - Cry - Probably the worst song on the album. Every album has it's bad song and this is James'. Not up to standard by any stretch of the imagination. 5/10
10 - No Bravery - Inspired by his army days. Not the worst song in the world, nor the best. It is listenable though. 7/10
Recently I have been clearing out my many possessions to get ready for university. Amongst them I've found tonnes of CDs I used to buy when I had far too much money. Some of them I wonder what on earth caused me to purchase them and others of them [this CD included], I have no idea how the hell they ended up amongst my belongings...
James Blunt is the extremely annoying, whiney sounding, androgynous individual who shot to global stardom in 2005 with the song 'You're Beautiful'. The song and this album 'Back To Bedlam' have gained a place amongst the defining records of the decades. So true is this that the record has recently passed Dido's 'No Angel' to become the top selling album of the 2000s, a record it looks set to keep unless an album can sell upwards of 3 million copies in just six months.
Since then Blunt's second album released in 2007 debuted at number one and sold fairly well but he seems to have been dropped into that huge vat of nothingness that we relegate this flash in the pan stars to when the sheep buying public have bored of them and have moved on to the next trend [cough Lady Gaga for 2009].
'Back To Bedlam' in my opinion is not the worst album ever to hit the shop shelves but the hype and sales that have been attached to its name seem very undeserving after you've actually listened to it. It has poor production, cringeworthy and boring lyrics and even more boring are the melodies Blunt has adopted to support his tiresome and irritating style of singing.
There's only ten tracks on offer on the original version of 'Back To Bedlam'. Something that would usually irritate me when purchasing a CD but here this shortage in songs is a very welcomed inclusion.
'High' starts off proceedings and isn't actually that bad. I have to say on first listen that the song screams 'Patience' by Take That to me. The chord arrangement, structure and soaring chorus are definitely identical though the latter far excels. The verses are very plain and Blunt ruins what could otherwise make the song bearable by whining his way through the chorus in a very unattractive manner.
'You're Beautiful' of course, is probably the main reason for this record's success. It's a very bittersweet song and lyrically is one of the better offerings here. The slow and beautiful intro leads into Blunt's recollection of an encounter with a gorgeous stranger. You want to hate the song because it's so cheesy, because his voice is so annoying and because every single note of this track screams 'awfulness!' but something about it pulls you in and you find yourself really feeling the emotion of the song by the time it ends.
Blunt sort of loses the plot on 'Wisemen'. The lyrics are disasterous and don't really make a lot of sense, whilst the chorus has very dark and moody undertones which do nothing to improve its listening quality. Wrapping off 'Back To Bedlam's' four main singles is the stunning 'Goodbye My Lover'. Not even Blunt's vocals can destroy the beautiful, piano led melody of this song. It's probably the strongest track on the CD and one that really captures the sorrow and emotion of the lyrics. There's so much strength in just this one song that it almost makes up for the rest of the record being so awful. This is the sort of material that Blunt needs to grab hold of to really make something amazing. It's nothing ground breaking but 'Goodbye My Lover' just has this mesmerising pull and a heart wrenching feel to it.
We're walking into unfamiliar territory after listening to the aforementioned song. 'Tears & Rains' is another track led by the piano but there's too much emphasis on the melody rather than vocals. Blunt seems uncomfortable against this and the vocals don't really seem to match the mood or atmosphere the song seems to be trying to generate. This is true again on 'Out Of My Mind'. Another acoustic led number that has a faint trace of rock humming along in the background. This explodes when you reach the chorus but the result is just disgusting to the ears. Blunt's vocals sound worse than they ever have as he tries to 'liven' up his graveyard esque album. The rocky beat does not work well at all with his vocals and the rest of the song. It's a very messy attempt at sounding cool and whilst it stands out from anything else on the CD, it's not a track I'd like to hear again in a hurry.
The rest of the album is just really the same sort of thing to be honest. Blunt sets his heart on piano led melodies, acoustic numbers and very depressing lyrics that he can wrap his self absorbed voice around. Each song does have a different characteristic sort of meshed into its structure to try and make it sound different though this doesn't really aid them as much hinder. 'Cry' for instance is another generic slice of 'Back To Bedlam' magic that has a sort of drum moment before the chorus that seems so out of place and odd. On the other hand, 'So Long, Jimmy' is a bit more upbeat and sounds almost funky. It has a more raw and different edge to it and sounds very promising but the chorus lets it down by failing to break out of that generic mould Blunt seems to have encased around himself. I'm not going to knock the singer's talent as there is evidently a lot of it thrown into the songs on offer here, but I just can't seem to feel anything extraordinary from the music. It's run of the mill and uninventive and just lacks any charm.
01 - High
02 - You're Beautiful
03 - Wisemen
04 - Goodbye My Lover
05 - Tears & Rain
06 - Out Of My Mind
07 - So Long, Jimmy
08 - Billy
09 - Cry
10 - No Bravery
Whilst at the time there was some wild appeal about James Blunt and his album, I seriously would advise anybody that gets the sudden urge to check him out and purchase this CD not to. It's almost like taking a trip back into the past and much further back than 2005 where the songs already sounded odd and dated. Blunt has a very unappealing voice and whilst there are one or two songs on 'Back To Bedlam' that appeal to the listener for no apparent reason, this album is weak and boring and is another prime example in the history of British music and the charts of hype surpassing actual quality.
Remember James Blunt? He angered everyone back in 2004 with the exception of menopausal housewives when he released the chart topping single You're Beautiful. Let's be honest here, James Blunt has received a hell of a lot of stick in the media press. It wouldn't be a falsehood to say that the majority of critics had already predetermined what their thoughts towards him would be. Ok, he isn't a musical genius, so what? Who said that he was? Oh right, the sticker on the front of the CD case did...
You're beautiful is an ultra sweet, ultra slickly produced song and it's reasonably good. Sure, it's been the victim of overexposure due to exhaustive radio play back in 2004, but that's the radio stations' fault, not Blunt's. The one thing I don't like about the song is the verse, "Yeah, she caught my eye as we walked on by, she could see from my face I was f*cking high". I hate unnecessary swearing and it really seems quite abrupt and unnatural when that line arises. Thankfully the words were changed for the better on the single release.
I remember finding Goodbye My Lover rather touching a few years back. It is safe to say that it has managed to retain a great deal of class, even if it's a little too sugary to be called a classic, but it is definitely one of the stronger songs from the album.
Cry is nice too, very nice actually, possibly the best song here. Of all things it reminds me of Michael Jackson's Earth Song. This is primarily due to the world-damning attitude that the lyrics take - WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE WORLD!
In this new millennium, singer/songwriters usually come a cropper at least several times throughout an LP's running time and James Blunt is no different. It usually happens when said artist isn't happy with writing their middle of the road acoustic jams and they then attempt to write something more credible. They inevitably miss their targets and simply because they aren't capable enough. Back to Bedlam is no different and the arty farty Wiseman is pretty much downright awful and Out Of My Mind fares only slightly better. It's all a little The Bends era Radiohead gone wrong.
Overall, there is nothing to really dislike here, but there is very little to fall in love with. You're getting 10 songs that you can whop on the kitchen CD player while you wash up or something. Alternatively, it would make a perfect gift for your Wife, or, if you are feeling daring, it would make the perfect gift for somebody else's Wife. It's far more fun that way.
Read more of my reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk
Back To Bedlam is the first album by British singer songwriter James Blunt. I would describe his music as acoustic pop, sometimes with a hint of folk music to it. He has served in the army in Kosovo in 1999, and says this is the inspiration for some of the songs on this album, especially No Bravery. He stood guard over the Queen Mother's coffin and was part of her funeral procession. So he's had a bit of a career change!
Back to Bedlam was released in 2004, and was met with much praise - for good reason! Blunt has an amazing talent for songwriting, and his voice is very unique.
1. High - This starts out with a very mellow guitar and piano introduction, with simple lyrics. Then once you get to the chorus it livens up a bit, and the song really grabs your attention. Its got beautiful lyrics and a soothing melody.
2. You're Beautiful - This was Blunt's first and breakthrough single. The first time I heard this, I almost turned it off because I couldn't stand his voice. But then after a couple of listens, I realised that he had something special. This is quite a simple song, with a repeated melody, but it's the words that really take the song into its own. This song has had a lot of radio airplay, which means you might already be sick of it though!
3. Wisemen - this is a very mellow song, with a good beat and great lyrics. The chorus is what really shines in the song - its so catchy!
4. Goodbye My Lover - This is such an emotional song, I really can't do it justice with words - you have to listen to it to appreciate it for what it is. On a more somber note, this song will really bring emotions out in anyone that has lost a lover. It grabs at my heart strings and knots them up - I guess that's what an amazing song can do to you. Blunt sings this with such amazing soul, you can really believe that he has experienced this first hand and it sounds like he is going to burst into tears at any minute.
5. Tears And Rain - This one is one of my favourites, it has a wonderful melody to it that stays in your head. But Blunt is not one for just a good tune - the lyrics to this are also brilliant and really tell a story. It's very soothing, ideal for chilling out to.
6. Out Of My Mind - this one has a bit more of a beat to it, and you get the feeling that he is touching on insanity here... talking about monkeys that are sitting on his shoulder waiting to get him! It's very catchy and memorable.
7. So Long Jimmy - Yes, this is about Jimi Hendrix! It's probably also the most "funky" song on the album. It has an almost reggae beat to it, and smooth laid back vocals. I dare you to try not to tap your foot to this one!
8. Billy - This is a very simple, but very catchy song. It's simple in the fact that for most of it it's just guitar with drums, but this really shows off the vocal talent of James Blunt. The chorus is very bouncy and catchy, this song is easily good enough to be released as a single.
9. Cry - This I would say is my least favourite song on the album, though I can't quite put my finger on why. I think it is because I feel it is not of the same musical quality as the rest of the tracks on the album. Though I guess every album has a track like this! I tend to skip this one when I listen to the cd as I feel this song is not up to scratch.
10. No Bravery - This one was inspired by his days in Kosovo, which is totally apparent from the lyrics. It's a heartfelt song from someone that has seen real war. A simple piano ballad that really works well, all the instruments are played by current or ex soldiers. This is another one where you can really believe the lyrics - this is because he has seen the horrors of war first hand. Another one sung with true emotion.
Overall this is a great album, I bought it when it first came out in 2004 and still listen to it today. In my opinion it has the perfect balance of ballads and upbeat songs, and is great for just chilling out to.
I mock him these days for his whiny voice and abillity to knock out bland and tedious ballads, but I bought this and rather enjoyed it for a few weeks.
Former soldier turned singer, James Blunt is a posh chap who sings about love a lot on this first album.
On the album:
You get the hugely overplayed 'You're Beautiful' which is one of those love or hate it songs. It is sung well though and Blunt carries it off wth poignancy and raw emotion. Better than this was 'Goodbye My Lover' a heartwrenching tribute to a lost love. The song is minimal and James sounds like he might crack at any moment.
'No Bravery' has a tragic air about it and is gloom laden, one of the more pertinent moments on the album. I also rate 'High' which pushes his voice to higher levels of excitement and benefits from a rousing chorus.
I was not moved by 'Billy' which is one of those songs which can easily be glossed over. The subject matter did not seem real to me and it would never have made a strong enough single.
Overall: Despite a lot of songs about love, Blunt sings with an intensity that makes the album believable. His voice might grate, yet the songs show a mature and disclipined songwriting sensibility that he can be proud of. Worth buying.
I will admit now, iIam not fond of James Blunt at all. I find his personality annoying, and perhaps abit cocky. I think it's to be praised he had such a hand in his album creatively and that he can play instruments and consistently sing live but i think quite frankly he is quite up himself!
For one year, I ignored the buzz that this album got because I didnt warm to his charachter whilst I have been quick to praise Will Young, Daniel Bedingfield and James Morrison almost instantly. I think this album is filled with many highlights and great tracks, and some songs that just shouldn't be there. The good thing it's a short album because if this went on for about 15 tracks I wouldn't listen to it.
First of all, great cover art I have to say and i like the title of the album as well - reminds me of Winehouse's Back To Black. The highlights include the quite annoyingly catchy You're Beautiful which was sooo huge around the world it's unbelievable. Another faviourite in Goodbye My Lover but what a horrible video with Mischa Barton in, I mean come on! how odd. Hugh and Wiseman show a mature and deep side of James Blunt that i am impressed with. I think in a sense my cirticism is the album is much the same, he doesnt do a variety of styles take Will Young for example with his recent Let It Go album there are ballads like Let It Go, commerical monster radio friendly songs like Grace and Changes and then there are upbeat and fun songs like I Won't Give Up and the occasional creatively dated Love sampling many styles.
James Blunt I admit has a good voice, range wise. But his annoying accent that sounds like cats screaming in the backyard I find annoying! I think this is a good album by any means but I dont think it deserved the success it got. There are 4 Excellent songs on the album, and the rest is all acceptable and nice but it's much the same style. I would want a followup to have more diversity and a mix of genre's rather than ballad, after ballad, after ballad.
James Blunt is a breath of fresh air to the music industry, his album "Back to Bedlam" is quite brilliant. He has a unique style that has proved very popular with all ages. There is both uplifting and sad songs on an all-round album. Songs like "High" "You're beautiful" and "Good-bye my lover" really touched me. Great album i would recommend it to anyone of any age or gender.
This is an absolutly outstanding album, if you like the likes of James Morrison or Daniel Powter or Jack Johnson give this great singer a try. A very original piece of work from a great guy. The lyrics touched me like no other singer has done, please give it a chance.
Back to bedlam is a great album to listen to in all moods, it really does cheer me up and is very uplifting, its mainly good as a chillout cd in my opinion though.
An all round good album!
James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
This 2004 CD was the debut album of former Army Officer James Blunt. I have to confess I bought this for two reasons, firstly the track 'No Bravery' which a friend played to me which really struck a chord with me, and secondly, more shallowly, because he served in the Lifeguards. And being an ex army man myself (17th/21st lancer as was) I was intrigued and expected the album to be full of 'awareness' songs like No Bravery.
The Album has actually sold over 12 million copies for the man, despite being named worst album of the year by NME....so, what about the songs, all written incidentally by Blunt (with collaboration), and he plays acoustic guitar on most..
Nice musical arrangement, acoustic guitar, keyboards, drums, but oh boy does his voice whine on this track. Not one that I would have chosen as an opener. I have heard this on at least two phone lines as the 'hold' music, says it all really. Love the Wurlitzer organ though. 3/10.
2. You're Beautiful
Probably his best known track, and certainly most successful, due in part to a well promoted video and the story behind the song. That story apparently was about the break up of his long term relationship. I have to confess, that I have a sneaking liking for this track, mainly because of the lyrics, which, whilst wrapped up in schmaltz, do hit home well. 7/10.
I have to say that I do like the music of this song, the keyboards especially. It is a shame about his whiny voice again. 4/10.
4. Goodbye My Lover
This song starts where 'You're Beautiful' stops, it is like a 'part two'. Actually his vocals do suit this song. Blunt also plays piano on this track, and I really like the piano here. The lyrics are actually very, very good, not least because they are believable. I also like the strings on this track which are subtle and really work. As a musical composition it is very accomplished. It tells a story, it has a memorable chorus and it has different 'parts' that make the whole. Not my usual sort of music at all, but I like this track. 8/10.
5. Tears & Rain
Co written by Guy Chambers (think Robbie Williams). I really, really dislike this track.....too formulaic (thanks Guy!) and too damn intellectual, with references to Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)....Robbie would sing this and it would sound just the same. 0/10.
6. Out of My Mind
Something a little different this time, more edgey, more self effacing, more adventurous musically, bit more 'rock', it's okay for those reasons, no more, no less, 5/10.
7. So Long, Jimmy
A song about Jimi Hendrix, can't fault him for that. I do like this, for the sentiment and the lyrics, it is just that his vocals are far too tame for a song like this. The lead and bass riffs are nice, if only they had someone sing this that had a lower, gruffer voice it would be great, as it is it is just mediocre. 4/10.
Nice funky, almost 70's guitar start, after that it goes downhill, boring, predictable and cringy. 1/10.
This is a very good song lyrically, unfortunately he does not seem to have enough passion in his vocals to carry the story. The musical score is again very good. 6/10.
10. No Bravery
The reason I bought this song. A personal view of war torn Kosovo, and the most believable vocals of the whole album. This song is good enough to be amongst the great anti-war, protest songs, really it is. It bought a lump to my throat the first time I heard it. All the instruments are played by serving or ex soldiers, this is quite novel in itself. The song builds very slowly and conveys really well the growing angst of those that have witnessed a war zone. According to Wikipedia, he was actually the first Officer in the first Squadron to enter Pristina in Kosovo, this clearly had some impact on him. A class song is one that we can believe in, I believe in this. 10/10.
There are those that say Blunt is boring, well, yes, he certainly can be. There are those that say his vocals are whiney, well, yes, can't disagree.
However, as a debut album, this is quite strong, and there are a couple of tracks that are quite brilliant. Would I recommend the album? No. Would I recommend that you buy a few individual tracks, in particular, No Bravery? Yes, absolutely.
As a musician and a songwriter he deserves the plaudits, as a singer, not so sure, perhaps he will be e better singer when his voice breaks.
This album review I have been wanting to do for awhile but I have struggled to write the final opinion on it, I've now practised with other albums I have in my collection so here it is.
Who is James Blunt?
James Blunt is a singer songwriter, who served in the British Army for 4 years of his life. He came out of the army and within 6 months he had signed a record deal.
In 2004, this album was released in the UK and his single You're Beautiful shocked everyone, and became one of the biggest selling singles of all time. This song was around for weeks and months and enjoyed by most people.
James has a very high falsetto voice, which for some if the downfall for James, he's not everyone's taste and a lot of people slander him and his voice, however the same amount of people love him and his voice. I myself think, well you should read the review to find out what I think:
The Album- Track List
Track 1- High
This is a great start to a great album. Like I said in the title of this review, you do either hate this man's voice and him or love his voice and him.
This is a very good opening track. It shows off his voice magically and the lyrics are very nice as well. It's a very upbeat song which talks about his hometown and the landscape. The guitar sounds amazing as do the drums alongside James's amazing and strong voice. James is very well known for having a very high falsetto voice, which goes into why you either hate him or love him.
I love his music and his voice, and think it's perfect for the songs he writes.
This track sets off the tone for the rest of the album, it's not the best track on the album, but it is certainly memorable. A very good powerful track, sung amazingly by James Blunt. A great addition to the album.
Memorable Lyrics: "Will you be my shoulder, when I'm gray and older, promise me tomorrow starts with you"
Rating: 8/10 (A beautiful song, which really shows of James' voice amazingly well)
Track 2- You're Beautiful
This track is James' most famous to date, it wasn't the first off the album to be released but it's the one where people took notice. This track was in the number one spot for just over 5 weeks and it's such a beautiful song.
The song is about James seeing an ex in the subway and she's with another man and realises that he'll never be with her. This song is very romantic and pulls at all the right strings and you can really see why it made him so famous.
Blunt sings along with just an acoustic guitar and it works perfectly against his voice. Such an amazing bit of music. This song is very emotional as the lyrics are so open and so honest, which is why I love James Blunt.
His lyrics are perfect, he puts every ounce of emotion he has into them.
This whole album when I listen to it always brings me back to going down to France on a bus on my birthday with all of my friends and I had this song on repeat.
I brought the album a day before, just because of this song. It's a beautiful song, and what makes it has to be Blunt's amazing lyrics and of course his powerful and emotion filled voice. This song is very over played though and I know a lot of people got sick of it after a while, I myself didn't.
Memorable Lyrics: "My life is brilliant.My love is pure.I saw an angel.Of that I'm sure.She smiled at me on the subway.She was with another man.But I won't lose no sleep on that,'Cause I've got a plan.You're beautiful. You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true.I saw your face in a crowded place,And I don't know what to do,'Cause I'll never be with you."
Rating: 10/10 (One of the strongest tracks on the album, the song is the reason this album managed to sell millions and rightfully so)
Track 3- Wiseman
I always find myself singing along to this one, a very catchy tune. His voice and the drums/guitar go so well together. James Blunt is very powerful in this song and it all fits together perfectly, musically it's beautiful, the people who play the instruments are amazing and they manage to accentuate James Blunt's voice not over power him.
This is a great feat. The lyrics in this track are very poignant and powerful and it makes it defiantly one of the best tracks on the album.
A very powerful song, which will have you singing along for days. A great addition to the album and it flows really well and fits perfectly after You're Beautiful. Amazing production.
Memorable Lyrics: "Look whose alone now, it's not me, it's not me, got to ask yourself the question, where are you now?"
Rating: 8/10 (A beautiful and catchy tune filled with some very powerful lyrics)
Track 4- Goodbye My Lover
I'm very sorry for the rating, but this song is my favourite of all time. So amazing. James Blunt has really outdone himself here. The instruments used is just his amazing falsetto voice and a piano. A very simple song, but it's so powerful and so beautiful, I could listen to it for days.
The verse is very slow and he's singing along with the piano and then it gets to the bridge which gets a bit faster, these are my favourite lyrics here as well, the chorus goes slow again and really just makes the song so powerful and so amazing. The song is so emotional and so personal, James Blunt puts everything into it. It almost gives you goosebumps when you listen to it, the piano just adds to the emotion.
His voice is just amazing and this song is just so well put together that it deserves the rate I have given it. He seems to put his heart and soul into this song which is also why I've given it such a high rate, the most beautiful track on the album, his voice is very high in this song, but it works so well and brings more emotion to the song. There is a little addition of the violin, as well which just gives it that extra echo and the goosebumps come a lot more.
There is one thing I don't like, for the video they hired the most emotionless and awful actress in the world. Any one remember Mischa Barton aka Marissa from the OC. She was just as bad in the video, but who cares, the song is still amazing. Some of the best lyrics on the whole album are in one 20 second piece of music. See below. This song means a lot to me, I could listen to it for days, but if I'm in a depressed mood, it can reduce me to tears.
Memorable Lyrics: "You've touched my heart, You've touched my soul, You've changed my life and all my goals, Love is blind, That I knew it, my heart was blinded by, I've kissed your lips and held your head, shared your dreams and shared your bed, I know you well, I know your smell, I've been addicted to you"
Rating 11/10 (I know it's a stupid rate, but this is what I feel this song deserves. You're Beautiful is an amazing track on the album and deserves 10/10 but this track is so much better, and so more powerful so I had to give it higher)
Track 5- Tears & Rain
One of the weaker ones on the album, especially compared to the first four tracks, however Blunt's voice is very powerful in this one. Instrumentally the track is very powerful and works so well with Blunt's voice which is very powerful. The lyrics are amazing as well, and work so well with his voice, an amazing track, but not in the same calibre as you're Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover.
Memorable Lyrics: "guess it's time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,All pleasure's the same: it just keeps me from trouble.Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray.I've heard what they say, but I'm not here for trouble.It's more than just words: it's just tears and rain."
Rating: 7/10 (A very nice track, not the best on the album, but not the weakest)
Track 6- Out Of My Mind
The start to this sounds, like a load of lights being turned on. Very powerful start. One of the best on the album, his voice is so powerful. The vocals on this album work so well with the lyrics and he delivers them amazingly.
I'm not too keen on the chorus, I love the verse and that is what makes the track, however the chorus is unforgettable and nothing special. The guitar is used brilliantly with this track and so are the drums. The drum beat really makes the verse what it is, a brilliantly and memorable part of the song. Very powerful and very lyrically and vocally brilliant.
Memorable Lyrics: "Judging by the look on the organ-grinder,He'll judge me by the fact that my face don't fit.It's touching that the monkey sits on my shoulder.He's waiting for the day when he gets me,But I don't need no alibi - I'm a puppet on a string.I just need this stage to be seen.We all need a pantomime to remind us what is real.Hold my eye and know what it means."
Rating: 8/10 (A amazing track, not the best, but still very powerful)
Track 7- So Long Jimmy
In this track he's saying goodbye to someone, the beat is great in this track, but I don't think it's the most powerful track on the album vocally or instrumentally.
I think it's probably the weakest on the album so far, a great track, but I usually skip this one, or don't pay much attention to it. It's a nice track, but the lyrics aren't as amazing as other tracks and there's no real emotional feeling behind his voice, he sounds like he's just there to sing and that's it.
He doesn't put as much soul behind it as he does Goodbye My Lover. A nice track however and a good addition to the album.
Memorable Lyrics: "I'm just so relieved that it's over.We were hanging out going nowhere,Digging how the guitar goes,In a song that no one knows.Did you burn that bridge yourself,Or did the voodoo magic help?"
Rating: 6/10 (Probably the weakest on the album, not the best lyrics, vocals or instrumentals)
Track 8- Billy
One of the most memorable and emotional tracks on the album. This is more of a story kind of album, it's not about James, it's about a guy called Billy who cheats on his girl and he's now left alone with nothing.
The lyrics are great and the track is very upbeat and memorable track. One of the ones you will remember off the album, it's a very funky beat and his voice is very powerful, rising above the instruments and delivering the lyrics with every ounce of emotion he has in him. A brilliant track and one you should check out.
Memorable Lyrics: "Tomorrow comes. Sorrow becomes his soul mate. The damage is done. The prodigal son is too late. Old doors are closed but he's always open, To relive time in his mind. Oh Billy."
Rating: 8/10 (Another strong track from James, beautiful vocals and instruments)
Track 9- Cry
This track is about many things, loyalty and friendship mainly. Such a beautiful track and Blunt manages to squeeze every ounce of emotion he can into every lyric.
Probably the most emotion filled song behind Goodbye My Lover. This song is very poignant as it's about friends and how you use friends to cry onto. A very powerful track with some amazing and emotion filled lyrics.
The instrumental parts in the song are just as amazing as the lyrics and his voice, they add to the song and manage to bring goosebumps to your skin. A beautiful track, and I don't think any one can help but not adore this track, it's such a powerful song for all of us, as it is about friendship and how we always end up crying on their shoulders.
This is a unique track as the album is about relationships and as are a lot of tracks out there at the moment, you don't see many about friendships and this is a great and added difference to that. Amazing.
Memorable Lyrics: "I have seen peace. I have seen pain,Resting on the shoulders of your name.Do you see the truth through all their lies?
Do you see the world through troubled eyes?And if you want to talk about it anymore,Lie here on the floor and cry on my shoulder,I'm a friend."
Rating: 9/10 (A beautiful track, very powerful and emotional)
Track 10- No Bravery
My second favourite track on the time. Everyone knows a little about James Blunt, he was a solider in Kosovo and none of the tracks so far have really shown what it must have been like, like I expected. However I was shocked when I heard this track. Probably even rivalling Goodbye My Lover in my favourite track of the album. Not quite there though.
Blunt is very powerful in this track, it's a very dark song, as he is talking about war and the people that are suffering with war, death and destruction. The piano at the start just shows you how moving and emotional it's going to be. I think vocally this is his best, and lyrically just behind Goodbye My Lover. Such a beautiful and moving track.
This is the final song in a long line of powerful and moving tracks, but this is the epitomy of James Blunt, powerful, strong vocals, brilliant production, and amazing use of instruments as well. Most of the song is just James and a piano, however in the background you here base drums and even symbols at points. What did make it less appealing was James didn't write this track on his own, this is why I've given it the low rate, because you would have thought this song at least he would have written as it was his experience. The only bad thing I have to say about the song is that.
This is the song you really feel chills from as it is musically brilliant, his voice is showered with pain and emotion and in every syllable he delivers you can hear this. Despite the fact it's co-written you can really feel James' input behind it. A beautiful track, very emotional and chilling.
Memorable Lyrics: "There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why,
He has been here.
Old men kneel to accept their fate.
Wives and daughters cut and raped.
A generation drenched in hate.
Says, he has been here.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Rating: 10/10 (One of the best on the album, so powerful, so emotional, so beautifully put together. A brilliant piece of music and a joy to listen to)
I know recently I've done quite a few music reviews and this is because of this album. I've had this review written for a while, but have never been able to write the opinion for it for some reason. I've always re-read it and deleted it, so I decided to go through all of my other CD's, learn my way around writing music reviews and see what people want, see why they may not be as well rated, this is why I usually ask a few members what I could do to make it better so I can make a brilliant album review at the end. I'm now running out of CD's so I thought I'd finally post this one.
This album can be explained in one word and one word only, impressive. 10 tracks and none of them make you want to tear your hair out, none of them feel out of place, none of them feel like filler tracks. There are only 10 tracks on the album, which is a lot less than what I've been reviewing lately, a lot of the albums I review are at least over 15 tracks, however you don't feel like you've lost anything from there being quite a small number of tracks.
I usually have the album on when I have to tidy my room, so usually once a month (lol) and it's such an easy listening album that you can have the whole album on, there are no horrible tracks, all tracks are sung powerful by James and each track has some great musicians playing along which just add to the amazing tracks and never deter your ears away from James, they just add to the song.
The production of the songs is the important part of this album in my opinion, I know James didn't write all of the songs, but he still co-wrote them. This album came out around the end of 2004, but I didn't buy the album until the next year in July but it has been in and out of my CD player ever since. It's such an emotional album which is so well put together, they seem to know where the tracks needed to be acoustic and which tracks were better preformed with lots of instruments.
Some of the songs, especially my favourite Goodbye My Lover & You're Beautiful have been overplayed and this is why a lot of people are either against the album as I think at one point, we were all like, if we hear You're Beautiful once more, we'll call up the radio station and complain. It's a song that's gorgeous to listen to, but if you hear it over and over again, it does get quite annoying.
Some of what this album is obviously about is James's past relationships, however he manages to change the songs and not just make them about his relationships, especially in the last two songs.
In cry it's about friendships which is very important to us, but is not as common for singers to sing about as relationships. James managed to pull this off amazingly and produced a beautiful piece of music, which is very effective.
No Bravery however is taken from his time serving as a soldier in the British Army and without a doubt it's one of the most powerful songs on the album. The lyrics, co written by James mean a lot and make you sit up and listen. Only a very good artist and lyricist can do this, and James is both.
This is James's first album, however not his last. He has recently produced his second album All The Lost Souls which isn't even in my collection. I borrowed it from a friend and was greatly disappointing. The lyrics weren't as good, as weren't the vocal prefomance from himself. This was a great shame as this album, Back To Bedlam is just pure brilliance. There are no songs that are painful to listen to, all of them have everything a good album should have.
A pretty fantastic album and well worth buying.
James has a very unique voice, one that you'll always know it's him singing a song. His voice will not appeal to everyone, his voice was actually crowned the most annoying voice of the year or something as I heard him say in an interview somewhere, however I love it. It's so beautiful and goes so well with each song he writes.
Especially the last track, he manages to put so much emotion behind it, his voice if possible get's better and more powerful and more emotion filled and works so well with the song. Brilliant.
This album uses a range of instruments, from piano on his slower pieces which bring out James's voice the best in my opinion, it gives the song a goosebump feel to the song, and really works alongside his voice. Especially in Goodbye My Lover. Beautiful.
He also uses guitar and drums a lot, which works very well especially in the more upbeat numbers fantastic.
Should You Buy The Album
Like I said in the album, a lot of people will not like James's voice or his music, however there are people who will adore this album. I would recommend buying the album wholeheartedly, his second album All The Lost Souls wasn't that brilliant, but this album is amazing.
Check out some of the links below on youtube to see if he's for you.
Buy this album, if you haven't already. Please rate and comment, I love reading them. This work is my own, and no one else's.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1hK-xWNhxYA : Goodbye My Lover
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fox-ja7YDSw : You're Beautiful
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=udueUcYtUhw : No Bravery
'Back to Bedlam' is the first album from singer-songwriter James Blunt, a 2004 release consisting of ten terrific tracks. This is folk rock at its finest I feel, the former British Army Captain certainly put to record an excellent album here and constructed a fine thirty nine minutes of music. 'Back to Bedlam' was voted 'worst album of the year' by the New Musical Express magazine, what do they know though; over 2.3 million copies of the album were shifted in 2005 alone.
Beginning with 'High', right from the offset the album is here hugely impressive. 'High' is without doubt one of my favourite tracks from this album, all ten of them are strong but this is one that most certainly captured my imagination right from the very first time that I heard it. The chorus to the track is absolutely excellent, always the voice of James Blunt is well put across here and never does the music disappoint. The guitar sounds constructed in the music are brilliant, the drumbeats also absolutely excellent and some impressive piano work can also here be heard. It's an excellent way for the album to begin and as the album progresses the music continues to impress here.
'You're Beautiful' is the second track on this album, it was the third single commercially released and also the breakthrough single for James Blunt. 'You're Beautiful' spent five weeks at number one in the UK, it also hit the number one spot at many other countries around the world and this is something that should really come as no surprise. The lyrical content of this track always is strong, the voice of James Blunt is highly impressive and the acoustic guitar accompaniment for the track certainly does not disappoint. The excellent voice of James Blunt shines through strongly here, this is something that is true of every track on this album in fact but most definitely his powerful vocal presence is highly apparent here.
'Wisemen' has always been my favourite track from this album, it's the one that I've played the most times of all tracks present on this release and given how many times I have listened to this album over the years this is really no small achievement. Lines such as 'Look who's alone now it's not me, it's not me; those three wisemen they've got a semi by the sea' are powerfully sung out by James Blunt here, always there is great passion in his voice and never do the lyrical lines fail to impress me. Everything about this track is excellent, it's a most incredible piece of music and I for one absolutely love it.
'Goodbye My Lover' was the fourth chosen single from the 'Back to Bedlam' album, the first four tracks from this album were in fact all released commercially as singles and rightfully so. The track is quite slow paced, it's an excellent piece of music however and the piano progression of the track is absolutely magnificent. Vocally the track is impressive as always here, everything about 'Goodbye My Lover' is strong, the lyrics are poignant and with this one the music of James Blunt most definitely has plenty to offer. As he sings out lines such as 'I'm so hollow' he certainly seems to be quite a lost soul, his personal pain can be felt here throughout the track and his passion certainly comes across in the vocal performance of this one.
The fifth track from this album 'Tears and Rain' is yet another excellent track, vocally the music is here supremely strong and instrumentally also the musical creation here has plenty to offer. The lyrics are intelligently constructed in the music, the vocal performance is brilliant and the chorus is I feel a definite high point of the track. The drumbeat is quite basic here but hugely effective, it's vocally where this track shines through so strongly as is the case with many of the tracks on this album. James Blunt showed himself to be such a talented singer-songwriter with this album, 'Tears and Rain' is just one of many excellent tracks from this release and was in fact co-written with Guy Chambers who co-wrote such Robbie Williams classics as 'Let Me Entertain You' and 'Angels'.
'Out Of My Mind' is yet another pleasantly constructed track from this album; it's a well worked James Blunt musical creation and vocally yet another success story. The vocals are as ever well put across here, instrumentally the music is highly impressive also and once more the lyrical content of the track comes across magnificently here. The melody of the track is brilliant, this one could easily have been released successfully as a single I feel. 'So Long, Jimmy' follows on from this and is I feel another definite highlight from the 'Back to Bedlam' album. The guitar sound is well put across and lyrically once more the music is strong. The track is quite instrumentally repetitive, this is a sound that has worked out well here for James Blunt though I feel and instrumentally there is most definitely a heavy hint of folk apparent here.
When I first listened to the 'Back to Bedlam' album from James Blunt 'Billy' was one of the tracks I remembered most fondly. The track is hugely catchy, it's well put across by James Blunt here and many of the lyrical lines from this one stuck in my mind for many months. The track speaks of sorrow becoming 'his' soulmate when referring to 'Billy', it's a powerful piece of music and most definitely one that I would highly recommend listening to. The vocal performance of James Blunt is passionate as ever here, the track is excellent and some strong piano sounds are also here put across powerfully in the music.
Using the same guitar riff in its introduction as 'You're Beautiful'; 'Cry' is another excellent track from this album. The instrumental progression of the track is absolutely brilliant, often the 'You're Beautiful' guitar riff is dropped into the sound here and this certainly provides for a strong listening experience. The guitars have plenty to offer in the music here, the track clocks in at just over four minutes in length and a fine four minutes of music it is too.
'No Bravery' provides an excellent end to a fantastic album of music, the tenth and final offering from this release certainly does not disappoint and as always here the fine voice of James Blunt shines through. The lyrics are well sung, full of meaning and the performance is passionate too. It's an exceptional way to end the album, it caps off this release magnificently and certainly I feel does the album terrific justice. It's one of the six tracks from this album to have been co-written with Sacha Skarbek, his influence is a vital one on this album I feel and given that he helped write over half the tracks on this release he certainly played no small part in making 'Back to Bedlam' the sublime album offering that it is.
'Back to Bedlam' is an excellent debut album from James Blunt, the man certainly proved his worth with this one and despite all the stick that he gets I do feel that this is an absolutely fantastic album of music. His voice will not appeal to all, I personally feel that James Blunt has an excellent voice however and throughout this album it is always the vocal performance of the man that stands out so strongly. Instrumentally 'Back to Bedlam' certainly does not disappoint, every track is incredibly instrumentally well constructed; all ten of the tracks on this album are absolutely exceptional and never is there a dull moment. So many strong tracks are included on this release, not one of the ten tracks on this album disappoints and all of them in fact offer plenty. For those with a strong appreciation for singer-songwriters then 'Back to Bedlam' is most definitely an album that should be of great appeal; it's a fine creation of folk rock and not one single weak link has here been included on this album. What I like most about the 'Back to Bedlam' album is that James Blunt here focused on constructing ten incredible tracks; less is more here and I'd rather he'd done this than put to record thirteen or fourteen lesser tracks. Definitely give this 'Back to Bedlam' album a listen if you haven't done so already, you'll surely not be disappointed.
--BACK TO BEDLAM--
James Blunt came onto the scene in 2005 with the release of this first album, the highly impressive 'Back To Bedlam'. Ex Army Captain, and guard at Buckingham Palace, Blunt totally changed his direction in life, to pour out his heart to music with the release of his hugely romantic and heartfelt debut album.
I first heard the track 'You're Beautiful' playing on the radio and I wondered who the singer was, as I really liked the track. I then bought the album on the strength of it. I think a lot of people did the same. 'You're beautiful' really is an absolutely stunning song and I needed to own a copy of the album so I could play this track whenever I liked, and probably on repeat. -
James Blunts first single release was 'High' in Oct 2004, which reached 148 in the charts, though I don't remember hearing it at the time. The record Company then re-released 'High' in Oct 2005 and it reached no 16 in the charts this time. When I first heard Blunt sing 'You're Beautiful', I loved the lyrics and haunting melody immediately and I was also impressed with James Blunts soft folk style enough to make me want to buy his album.-
---BACK TO BEDLAM---
The album opens with the track 'High'. The soft vocals of Blunt are accompanied by the melodic chords of acoustic guitar to the start of this track. High is a lovely song with meaningful lyrics, slow in tempo with good rhythmic drumbeats. As the song reaches the chorus the drums increase in volume and speedup as they crash their way through the chorus. The track is predominantly acoustic guitar, brilliant keyboard and drums. This is a great song which did reach no 16 in the charts upon its re-release. Blunt is singing of a 'Beautiful dawn' which I read as metaphorical for the woman who has saved him from being alone and he is high on life now that she is in his. Another interpretation could possibly be that he is high on an illegal substance. He sings "I was alone until you came along", so it's possible it is either. I prefer to think he is in love. Anyway this is a truly uplifting song, full of hope for the future. Blunts vocals take a while to get used to as they are quite high in range, falsetto, but he sings with a great passion and emotion throughout, and he wins you over with his sheer sincerity of lyric.
Wise Men is an enigma of a song. It is beautifully melodic. The lyrics are a real puzzle and the video that accompanies this track is quite horrific. It features a man throwing his passport on a fire then becoming ablaze himself. The burning of the passport would appear to symbolise the death of his identity, and his body burning, the death of the spirit. This track is not about war nor is it political as could be thought. The song is about retaining ones true identity and not conforming, though put under pressure to do so by the powers that be. Though Blunt served in Bosnia, he has steered well clear from making this in any way, shape, or form a protest album and the only track that refers to his time in Bosnia is 'No Bravery'. Wise men has poignant lyrics, accompanied by acoustic guitar, great drum rhythms and melodic keyboard. Blunts passion really shines through on this. It is quite simply a sensational track.
---GOODBYE MY LOVER---
This is a beautiful track, a very slow ballad, really heartbreaking, as the lyrics denote. The end of a relationship, never easy, always painful, and he sings of the feelings he still has for his lover. "You have been the one; you have been the one for me". Real heart rendering stuff; "And I still hold your hand in mine, in mine when I'm asleep" This song is a real tear jerker, and anyone who has had a painful break-up will identify with this track. I think its more a case of breaking up with someone while you are still in love with them that makes it all the more soul destroying and hard to take. His lover has left him for another man and you can really feel his pain through the song."Remember us and all we used to be" But he says they will always have this connection of spirit. The track opens quite simply with the lonely subdued chords of the piano. Blunt sings openly with his heart on his sleeve the pain coming through the staggeringly heartbreaking lyrics. The track is all about the lyrics as the piano continues its beautiful, quiet, stark accompaniment throughout this track. "I love you I swear that's true. I cannot live without you" Then finishing with the final accepting lyrics of "I'm so hollow" This really is a very sad track by Blunt.
Well I thought there were no protest songs on this album, but this definitely is one. This track tells of war with stark images on the video of dead babies, Blair, Bush, bombing and soldiers. The piano is mournful playing a funeral dirge accompaniment. The lyrics are powerful, striking and the clash of the symbol comes in to reinforce a powerful statement of lyric. "No bravery in your eyes" relating to the soldier who has gone to war full of loyalty to his country and cause, but in reality there is no right in what he is doing, therefore he feels no sense of bravery. As the song continually repeats the lyrics "He has been here". "The smell of death is in the air". This really is a very moving song which is completely self explanatory in its context. Lyrics of death of babies, stretched out rows of tiny bodies after a bomb attack, Blunt sings sadly on about the atrocities of war in plaintive tone. This is a hard hitting track and obviously influenced by his time In Kosovo. The piano is haunting and fitting to the shameful lyrics of the song.
Well this track is the reason why I bought this album in the first place. I love this track. When I first heard it I was struck by its openness of lyric. The track opens with the slow even rhythmic beat of the drums, accompanied by electric guitar and keyboard. "You're Beautiful" is about a chance encounter, a fleeting moment in time when your eyes meet that of a stranger, and in that second, you just know! "I saw your face in a crowded place and I don't know what to do, cos I'll never be with you". It's a meeting of souls if you like and these 'moments' can be very poignant and meaningful and they stay with you. You'll probably never see this person again, yet they have had a profound effect upon your life. "I saw an angel, of that I'm sure. She smiled at me on the subway she was with another man" "We shared a moment that will last to the end". Really marked lyrics, possibly even a moment in Blunts life. The musical arrangement is brilliant on this track and it flows and helps to interpret the song beautifully. This is a truly stunning track and the one that prompted people to buy his album.
Track for track this is a staggeringly beautiful album. James Blunt has been likened to David Gray and Damien Rice. Again I think Blunt, like Damien Rice, is an artist in his own right. It is quite hard to put this type of singer into a specific category. What I really like is the fact he has not rushed to get another album out to run off the back of this one. Careful lyrical content and a love of his craft makes this an album of excellence and not one track let the album down as a whole. I think James Blunt takes a lot of stick. I'm not too sure why. Perhaps it is seen as 'not cool' to admit to liking him. Whatever, I definitely recommend this album if you like honesty and truth from your lyrics. The musical arrangements are quite understated, allowing the lyrical content to dominate. Back to Bedlam is an album that I play often and I am proud to have it in my collection.-
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Youre Beautiful
4 Goodbye My Lover
5 Tears And Rain
6 Out Of My Mind
7 So Long Jimmy
10 No Bravery