London-based producer, songwriter, and vocalist James Blake has developed quite the fanbase over the past several years, to the point that his music now boasts several hundred million plays across streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify. Besides becoming one of the most beloved voices in British music, Blake’s list of musical accolades has also seen him win a Mercury Prize, pick up a Grammy, and find his way onto production credits for some of America’s biggest names, including Beyonce, Jay-Z,
and Kendrick Lamar. Returning to release original music this month, James welcomes the birth of his fifth career studio album “Friends That Break Your Heart”, which arrives via Polydor, the UK-based German imprint that was also involved in the release of all of his previous four albums, as well as past works from Snow Patrol, Ellie Goulding, and Lana Del Rey. The album brings plenty more of what the James Blake name has become known for, well produced, beautifully cold, and at times intensely visceral, pop music. It’s unclear if the album tells a true story in which James found himself being let down by a close friend, or if it’s simply a theme that found its way into his head during some prolonged studio session, but the message does hit deep on 100% of his solo inclusions, while tracks like “Coming Back” (featuring SZA) and “Frozen” (featuring JID & SwaVay) hold out a tissue in the form of punchier drum sounds and heavily processed rap vocals. It’s an impressive addition to an already impressive catalogue of music, and one which will be a long term inclusion for many music collections, including our own.
Where to start:
Life Is Not The Same: Chilling voice echoes and emotive piano melodies
Say What You Will: Playful drum rhythms and layered vocal hooks
Friends That Break Your Heart: James Blake at his best
Previous from James Blake:
Assume Form LP (2019, Polydor)
The Colour In Anything (2016, Polydor)
If you like this then check out:
Jamie XX – In Colour (2015, Young)
Sampha – Process (2017, Young)
James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart is out now on Polydor.