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After years of silence James Blunt returns

March 31, 2017

 

The Afterlove • James Blunt • 3 of 5 stars

Starla Gatson
Managing Editor | sjg021@latech.edu

 

After nearly four years of musical silence, James Blunt returned to the music scene with “The Afterlove.”

 

In an interview with Artist Direct, the British singer-songwriter referred to the ten-track album as “confident and bold” and called it more diverse than any other album he has released in the past.

 

Known for his soulful ballads, “The Afterlove” introduced Blunt fans to his mainstream side. By collaborating with well-known pop artists, including OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran, Blunt was able to produce more energetic and upbeat songs than those of his earlier albums.

 

Though Blunt traded his soft guitar rhythms for toe-tapping, catchy beats, his signature vocal rasp and refreshingly honest lyrics still remain intact.

 

The majority of the album’s tracks are modern love songs and tell the story of Blunt’s marriage to his wife and the birth of his first child; a prominent theme of each of these tracks is a romantic relationship’s power to positively change a personality. Blunt tells various love stories through the tracks, including one of forbidden love and one of love for his wife and son.

 

In many of the album’s songs, including “Love Me Better,” Blunt’s signature self-deprecating humor shines through as he expresses the belief that he believed he did not deserve the life-changing love he had described. He even makes fun of his claim to fame, the 2005 track “You’re Beautiful,” with the line “Would have said you’re beautiful but I’ve used that line before.”

 

While the topic of love’s ability to alter people is a bit of a cliché, it’s a theme that listeners can resonate with. Blunt’s simple choruses are relatable and their conversational tone allows listeners to easily apply the song’s subject matter to their own lives.

 

One of the few songs on the album that is not about romantic relationships is “Someone Singing Along.” The track has a catchy hook and unique melody, but its lyrics are what make the song stand out. It addresses modern issues faced in America today, including racism, marriage equality and Second Amendment rights.

 

The song is a call to action. Blunt’s lyrics, “Cause just one voice is not enough, I need to hear from everyone,” are a plea for listeners to not only stand up and speak out for what they believe in but also respect others despite differing opinions.

 

The album, filled with memorable hooks and upbeat rhythms, served as the singer’s emergence into popular music, though a few of Blunt’s attempts at evolution to fit the times fell flat. “The Afterlove” is a good starting point on Blunt’s path to modernizing his sound.

 

New fans will enjoy the energy and contagious hooks of the album while diehard Blunt fans will appreciate the lyrics, as they remain honest and conversational and tell a story that many listeners can relate to.

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