Review: Back to Bedlam

It’s only April, but I think I have already found the musical highlight of 2005, in the shape of ‘Back to Bedlam’, from James Blunt.

Back to Bedlam I first got a taste for Blunt’s music after downloading ‘High’, available as a free download single of the week on iTunes. This can sometimes be hit or miss, but either way it is free so there is nothing to loose. But just hearing a second track during a TV commercial for the album convinced me I should take the gamble and buy it. The gamble paid off.

Kicking of with the uplifting debut single ‘High’, followed by the amazing ‘You’re Beautiful’ - a song that at first may seems a little unoriginal - it quickly grows on your with a memorable guitar rift and its true tale of an unattainable romance. The second single to be taken from the album ‘Wisemen’ begins with a sound not too un-similar to Badly Drawn Boy (not surprising given both have been produced by Tom Rothrock). It then hooks you in further with its catchy chorus.

After this triple whammy, the album slows down a bit, with ‘Goodbye My Lover’ - whilst not as catchy still worthy of a listen, which probably can be said of ‘Tears and Rain’. However I consider these as hidden jewels that will start to gleam over time as I get a feel for their lyrics.

Having read James’ biography, the album will no doubt take on another dimension. Having joined the British Army and making captain, he was the first of 30,000 peacekeeping troops into Pristina, before later before protecting the Queen on horseback and the guarding the Queen Mother, whilst she lay in state. Only part of his (still relatively short) life story, that also includes moving to California and discovering the joys of an English accent in American bars!

‘So Long, Jimmy’ (reportedly inspired by Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison) and ‘Billy’ return to the run of catchier tunes, before ‘Cry’ and finally ‘No Bravery’ (written whilst in Kosovo) remind us of what an intelligent and emotionally charged collection of music this is. Add in to the mix a unique voice that changes pitch effortlessly, and it all just makes for an album that’s is an absolute joy to listen too.

I have listened to this album far to many times (it’s currently playing in my car everyday traveling to and from work) and I still can’t get bored of it - there always seems something new to grab your attention still further. Needless to say, I cannot recommend this album highly enough.


6 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On April 14, 2005 10:37 AM, Jon said...

I first came across this album having it forced upon me in Lloydy's car, but in the way that all good music does, it got in there somewhere, and wouldn't let me rest until I'd spent the £7.90 downloading it from iTunes.

I've got to say I agree, this album is genius, in the way that Damien Rice's O is genius. In fact, the two are certainly not dissimilar.

Also, I have to try that English accent in America thing for real this time.

 Gravatar#2 On April 28, 2005 2:52 PM, Jon said...

'So Long, Jimmy' (reportedly inspired by Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison).... hmmmm, shouldn't that be VAN Morrison.... HAHAHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHH!!!!!

 Gravatar#3 On June 3, 2005 3:31 PM, Sian said...

i bought this album recently. it's so great, but way too good to end after forty minutes or so. some albums drag on but i come to the end of this wishing it would go on a bit!

 Gravatar#4 On July 31, 2005 1:08 PM, Gio said...

I bought this album after downloading the 'Out of my mind' demo from JB website. What a revelation! but yep, the whole album it's a jewel. I think 'You're Beatiful' is not the best track in the cd. I think 'Out of my Mind' is the real masterpiece. I immediately caught similarieties with Damien Rice as Jon mentioned. Both of them exploit the power of their voice to create awesome vocal sounds. But, ehm, JB is also terribly handsome. Well, after watching last week (for the first time!) his 'You're beautiful' video, I'be been wondering is JB the latest reincarnation of Jim Morrison? no...of course no...

 Gravatar#5 On November 1, 2005 9:44 PM, Bily Yok said...

gönder banaaaa

 Gravatar#6 On June 14, 2006 1:39 PM, Ben said...

Not really my kind of music, i got bored a long time ago with insincere love songs full of generic lyrics. I agree it does sound like everything else and thats probably why there record companies are all over it. Its proven to sell!

To me this offers nothing new or inspiring in a tired out genre. Im also bored of people saying "but i can relate to what he says", I dont doubt that you can as all of us have had our rough experiences with love but the difference with people who actually like this kind of music is that they seem to dwell on it and feel sorry for themselves rather than dealing with it as an experience in their lives, enjoying it (as much as possible) and moving on. So cheer up guys and listen too some music that picks you up rather than brings you down.

That said we all have different tastes and thats great!

Album Details

James Blunt
Produced by:
Tom Rothrock
Atlantic Records

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Back to Bedlam

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This entry was written on 22 Nov 2004, 12:00 PM and is filled under , .