James Blake — „Friends That Break Your Heart“ (Oct. 8, 2021)

UK FLAG                                                                      James Blake — „Friends That Break Your Heart“ (Oct. 8, 2021)
∫  V loňském roce se zpěvák, skladatel a producent James Blake vrátil ke svým klubovým kořenům na odvážném čtyřstopém EP. Krok kousek od intenzivní melancholie jeho nedávného katalogu, malá sbírka písniček vydláždila cestu pro experimentování a elegantní styl jeho nejnovějšího díla „Friends That Break Your Heart“. Sentiment se odráží i v hudbě. Podstupuje se více rizik a většina se vyplácí. Meandrující „Coming Back“ provede posluchače melodickými kolotoči s éterickou funkcí SZA. „Say What You Will“ je majestátní rovnovážná rutina, která zdůrazňuje Blakeovu všestrannost vokalisty a titulní skladba uvádí to nejlepší z toho, co sourozenci Eilishovi na svých nejnovějších albech dávali do slzotvorného čísla.
∫  Nové album řeší intenzitu platonických vztahů, kterým není věnována stejná pozornost jako zamilovanosti. Po celou dobu Blake prosazuje potřebu prozkoumat je jako jedny z nejformativnějších a nejintenzivnějších zkušeností v životě. I když je docela jasné, co může romantický rozchod znamenat, konec přátelství je další chaotická záležitost, která v umění tolik zastoupena není.
∫  „Právě začíná spousta hudebníků, kteří si možná neuvědomují úskalí koncertování a úskalí života hudebníka. Duševní zdraví na cestách je něco, co bylo obecně ponecháno až do této generace, aby se s tím opravdu vypořádalo.“ — James Blake
Location: London, England
Album release: Oct. 8, 2021
Record Label: Republic
Duration:     48:25
01. Famous Last Words   4:16
02. Life Is Not the Same   3:20
03. Coming Back (feat. SZA)   3:16
04. Funeral   2:36
05. Frozen (feat. JID & Swavay)   3:56
06. I’m So Blessed You’re Mine   3:15
07. Foot Forward   2:33
08. Show Me (feat. Monica Martin)   3:38
09. Say What You Will   4:41
10. Lost Angel Nights   4:00
11. Friends That Break Your Heart   3:22
12. If I’m Insecure   4:56
Bonus Track:
13. Funeral (feat. slowthai)   2:36

Ref Dziri ⇑ October 4, 2021, 12:01 am ⇑ Score: 9/10
∫  Last year saw singer~songwriter~producer James Blake return to his club roots on a daring four~track EP. A step slightly left from his recent catalog’s intense melancholia, the small collection of songs paved the way for the experimentation and elegant stylings of his latest body of work, Friends That Break Your Heart.
∫  The new album tackles the intensity of platonic relationships that aren’t given the same attention as infatuation. Throughout, Blake makes the case for a need to explore them as some of the most formative and intense experiences in one’s life. While it’s pretty clear what a romantic break~up might entail, the end of a friendship is another messy affair that doesn’t get as much representation in art Blake opens the album with the difficulty of letting go in “Famous Last Words.” “And I can’t believe I’m still talking about you,” he sings, introducing a subject that permeates the entire album a paradox exemplified in the very existence of the project.
∫  “Life Is Not The Same” also sees Blake struggle with the idea that a relationship was possibly based on falsehoods (“If you loved me so much/ Why’d you go?”). “Foot Forward” acknowledges an incompatibility that could’ve been addressed before lives got entangled. “Show Me” deplores the asymmetry of a now~defunct relationship (“I heard you can show love/ It’s just not come out for me”) and “Lost Angel Nights” travels through pre~pandemic gatherings and the deceptiveness of rapports built on the back of convenience and common interest.
∫  Through interpersonal links, the tracklist also addresses the way we process emotions~perhaps most convincingly on “Frozen” with J.I.D and SwaVay. Every performer brings the best of his craft on board in one of the most lyrically invested moments on the album, harking back to the ubiquitous lockdowns and the inevitable accompanying introspection.
∫  It all comes full circle with “If I’m Insecure,” where James Blake explains how his ability to connect with others has allowed him to overcome some of his inner struggles. No matter whether relationships fizzled out, he finds beauty in loyalty and devotion. “And if I’m insecure, how have I been so sure that I’m gonna care for you/ Until I am no more,” he croons. It’s a conclusion to an ambivalent thesis that ultimately suggests the intensity of the feeling is worth the potential disappointment.JAMES BLAKE. Grammys Red Carpet Dresses 2019
∫  The sentiment is also mirrored in the music. Multiple risks are taken and most pay off. The meandering “Coming Back” takes the listener through melodic carousels with an ethereal SZA feature. “Say What You Will” is a majestic balance routine that highlights Blake’s versatility as a vocalist and the title track channels the best of what the Eilish siblings have been delivering on their most recent albums into a tear~jerking number.
∫  Blake’s otherworldly vocals are spotlit throughout with precise electronic accompaniment and a flair for harmonization of which few of his peers dare dream. “Famous Last Words” is built on a synthesized bed of gyrating synths and the hint of a grumbling bass line in the distance. The instrumentation seems to converge mainly to serve the vocals as they soar across varied soundscapes. Similarly, the Nicolas Jaar/FKA twigs club trap stylings of “Life Is Not The Same” enhance the gorgeous heaps of harmonies with the help of production duo Take A Daytrip.
∫  Later, “Lost Angel Nights” confirms Blake’s ability to steer clear of gimmicks. All the little synthesized nuggets he drops sound right at home where they land~even if they could’ve easily felt reductive and unnecessary had the execution faltered. In fact, Friends That Break Your Heart crystallizes how vital artists like James Blake have become to an industry that constantly threatens to exchange creativity for profit. – Riff Magazine
∫  https://riffmagazine.com/album-reviews/james-blake-friends-that-break-your-heart/
By Heran Mamo, 2/14/2020: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8551115/james-blake-defends-girlfriend-jameela-jamils-difficult-medical-history
Aimee Cliff, 17th January 2019: https://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/42940/1/james-blake-assume-form-travis-scott-andre-3000-rosalia-interview
BY JAKE WOOLF, May 24, 2016:
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