Album of the Year 2016 #1: James Blake – The Colour In Anything

Album of the Year 2016 #1: James Blake – The Colour In Anything
Hello everyone and welcome to day 1 of Album of the Year 2016! For those not in the know, for the next 31 days, users from the sub will be picking their favorite albums of the year and writing about them. If you’re familiar with our For Your Consideration series on here, these write-ups are gonna work mostly like that. Anyways, to start us off, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite artists of all-time, James Blake, and his latest album, The Colour In AnythingArtist: James BlakeAlbum: The Colour In AnythingListen:YouTubeSpotifyApple MusicAlbum Background by /u/ReconEGThe Colour in Anything is the third studio album by James Blake and follows up his Mercury Prize-winning sophomore album, Overgrown. Work on the album began in 2014 and hit multiple roadblocks due to rough patches in the recording process. While it was initially announced as Radio Silence by Blake and expected to come out “in about five months” in November 2014, those five months passed by with no word on the album. This was mainly because halfway through writing the album, he hit a wall. Because of this block and starting to smoke too much weed, his new recordings sounded “greyed out.”Running out of steam, Blake retreated to Los Angeles to finish the album at Shangri La Studios, owned by Rick Rubin who later helped produce some of the tracks on the album. Prior to this record, almost everything on a James Blake album was done by him, but once he began dating someone new, that changed. Along with working with Rubin, Blake got some help from Frank Ocean and Justin Vernon, both of whom have writing credits on the album (Ocean helped write “My Willing Heart” and “Always” while Vernon helped write “Meet You In The Maze” and “I Need A Forest Fire,” the latter of which he’s featured on). Also, Kanye West was expected to be on the album, but after getting lost and showing up two hours late to a meeting with him, no music materialized.On May 5th, Blake appeared on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show and announced the album was finally done. It was now called The Colour in Anything and it was coming out later that night. Just a few weeks before he featured on another surprise release, Beyoncé’s Lemonade. (In fact, it caused his album’s release date to be delayed by a week)Review by /u/ReconEGBack in early 2013 when I was still deeply into Odd Future fandom and 80% of the music I listened to was by them, a friend of mine on an Odd Future forum recommended me to check out this new album by a guy named James Blake. The cover was intriguing, and the music even more so. Over three years later, I consider James Blake a deeply important artist to me. When I went through a messy breakup in January last year, one of the few things I looked forward to was the fact that there was gonna be a new James Blake album to help tide me over.Of course, it didn’t end up coming out that year but I got through that rough patch thanks to another British artist. Anyways, fast forward to May this year, I was three months past another breakup, which was much less messy and a pretty mutual affair. However, I still had a lot of feelings for her that lingered on that needed to be worked through. Luckily, James Blake came around at the perfect time and helped me realize I wasn’t alone. We’ll get to that a little later on as I should talk about the music first.The album starts off with “Radio Silence”, the live version of which has been floating around since early 2015. Right away, you know some shit is about to go down with Blake’s haunting vocal melody, the glitched piano, and the repeated snare drum. “I can’t believe this, you don’t want to see me,” repeats Blake in shock of his partner’s sudden departure. He continues on singing “We lived in love with each other so long.” These lyrics are an interpolation of a Bill Withers song, “Hope She’ll Be Happier”, which described by Stereogum’s Tom Breihan:“Hope She’ll Be Happier” is a grown-up song, a song about acceptance and desolation, about realizing you were a chapter in someone else’s life and that chapter is over. “I can’t believe that she don’t wanna see me,” he sings. “We lived and loved with each other so long.” On “me” and “long,” he stretches the words out until they’re wounded-foghorn sounds. It’s one of my favorite performances ever.While not a 36 year old factory worker from West Virginia, Blake is able to recreate the pure emotion delivered by Withers. You feel the deep pain and shock Blake is in. This pain is delivered further with the repeated line of “I don’t know how you feel.” In my opinion, this song is the epitome of what makes James Blake great. He’s about to perfectly create an atmosphere like no other artist. If he is feeling something, you’re going to be dragged into his soundscape to feel it too.But that’s enough about the intro, let’s get onto some other tracks on the album. “Love Me In Whatever Way” describes Blake as unhealthily committed. He’s willing to follow his lover’s lead no matter what just to stay with her. These themes of not giving up and focusing in on one person are continued on “My Willing Heart,” which sits right at the middle of the album and notes a change in themes. While the first half of the album is Blake wandering in his depression, the second half sees himself finally trying to get out. I tapped my good friend and fellow Indieheads Podcast member /u/Apotheosis91 to explain this instead of copying him:While it isn’t officially considered one, I tend to think of TCIA as double album (an interpretation helped greatly by its length). The first “disc” charts the disintegration of Blake’s relationship, from the disconnect of the aforementioned “Radio Silence,” the apathy and despondency of “f.o.r.e.v.e.r.,” to the conclusiveness of “Waves Know Shores,” which sees Blake coming to terms with the doomed nature of their love. To my ears, “Waves Know Shores” is a kind of first-disc closer, one that brings the sequence’s narrative arc to somewhat of an end, without acting as too much of a musical curtain call.“My Willing Heart” opens the second half, leaving Blake in the midst of his heartbreak, and questioning how to move on. In this process, he oscillates between longing for his past relationship (“Choose Me”), and craving a blank slate from which he can restart his life (“I Need A Forest Fire”), before finally turning inward and examining the flaws that lead him to this situation (“The Colour in Anything”). In accepting himself, and the role this person played in his life, Blake begins to move towards a place of closure, reflecting unfavourably on his past behaviour, and expresses a desire to begin a new phase of his life (“Modern Soul”). With this realization, his heartbreak and depression slowly turn to optimism (“Always”), and the colour seems to return to his world at last.Despite this, Blake ends the album on a bittersweet note with “Meet You In the Maze.” On this closer, he laments the turn of events that lead to the end of his relationship, acknowledging the role he played in its demise. Still, he expresses appreciation this person’s enduring influence on his life, and that regardless of what form it takes, they will still have a place in his heart. As a whole, the two of halves of The Colour in Anything are respective documents of loss and recovery, which ultimately lead to growth. The way in which Blake navigates this thematic content in a way that is loaded with commentary and subtext without losing accessibility is an expert achievement. His ability to draw multiple meanings from the same line makes for an immediate yet intricate experience, in which new insight arises with each listen.Let’s go back to something I talked about earlier on in the review, the feeling that James Blake made me feel not alone. Sometimes I have issues not articulating my true feelings to friends and family. I always feel like it’s a burden to talk about my feelings with other people as I get this sinking feeling they don’t care, even if they do. Whenever this album came out, I cried while listening to it. It was an extremely cathartic listen that made me realize I needed to take my emotions back. I couldn’t wallow forever. So, I didn’t. Patched things up with my ex, got closure, and have tried moving on from there.Enough about me though, let me give some final thoughts on the album. It isn’t perfect. It runs a little long, maybe has a filler track or two, some of the production isn’t quite as inventive as the stuff on his self-titled, etc. However, that’s also what makes this album so great to me. From reading into what the album’s about, this is James Blake’s attempt to make happy. And sometimes, making happy is a long and difficult process that has a couple of bumps along the way, which helps make The Colour In Anything his most honest work yet. The four words this album ends on, “Music can’t be everything,” are ones that forebode Blake’s career moving forward. Making this album almost destroyed him and through letting loose, enjoying life, and finding someone new, he’s rebuilt himself. I’ll let the man himself explain:“To put it bluntly, I’ve been validated. Beyoncé wants me to sing on her record. Everyone wants me to sing. I’ve had my confidence broken down and built back up and I think I’m in this zone where everything I do feels OK. If I can do that, what else can I do?”Whatever that is, I’m excited to see what happens next.Favorite Lyrics by /u/ReconEGI noticed I can still ghost the streetsNoticed just how slow the killer bee’s wings beatAnd how wonderful, how wonderfulHow wonderful you are”f.o.r.e.v.e.r.”I’ve been looking for the golden treesI don’t wanna see the good in all those things (haven’t we all, haven’t we all, haven’t we all…)Maybe I’ll just press my hands on it (haven’t we all, haven’t we all, haven’t we all…)It’s a lot for me to take”I Hope My Life (1-800 Mix)”The first time your name was usedIt was beauty and I knewSat in a violet room with some people I saw throughGathered ’round the television’s fireWatching for the people I admiredOutside my words were frozen in the mouthI couldn’t let them out”My Willing Heart”And how I told you what I’d doIf one day I woke and couldn’t find the colour in anything”The Colour In Anything”Before you know you’ve filled the pageBefore you fill the pageThey were once awaitingMusic can’t be everything”Meet You In The Maze”Talking Points:Was this album worth the wait?How does it compare to his previous albums and EP?What are your thoughts on his progression, becoming more of a singer/songwriter than a producer?Is the album too long as many people have complained?And finally, where do you think he goes next from here?Special thanks to /u/Apotheosis91 for contributing some help to my review and you all for reading the first Album of the Year 2016! Be on the lookout tomorrow for day 2 of Album of the Year 2016 as /u/Killatrap & /u/radmure tackle Japanese Breakfast’s Psychopomp.The schedule for the rest of the series will be in the comments.
Hum Tv Dramas Lyrics 2015
Submitted by ReconEG

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