Back To Bedlam
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Simply put, James Blunt is the most successful debut artist of the year in the UK! However, he isn't one of those guys who finished school and set off to become a musician. The one time British army captain (and latest ina long line of Blunts in the armed forces) served stints as a peacekeeper in Kosovo and guard at Buckingham Palace before hanging up his uniform. His days of carrying a gun behind him, Blunt quickly began turning heads with his soaring vocals and stirring songs. His debut album, Back to Bedlam, has earned widespread praise, including comparisons to the likes of Damien Rice, David Gray and a young Elton John.
As a piece of propaganda, James Blunts album Back to Bedlam does more for changing the face of the British Army than a series of television adverts ever could. Swapping a rifle for a guitar, the former cavalrymans ballad-heavy debut is a clearly aiming to win the battle for the publics hearts and minds. The U.K. success of singles like "Youre Beautiful" and "No Bravery" (inspired by his time stationed in Bosnia) are both heartfelt and sensitive, the latter packing an additional emotional punch beyond the typical lovelorn ballads of his contemporaries like Damien Rice. But Blunt also sings with conviction about matters of the heart, and thats the territory that most of Back to Bedlam visits, with songs of loss like "Goodbye My Lover", "So Long Jimmy" and "Billy". And throughout, the arrangements remain understated yet effective, thanks to the input of such heavyweight producers and songwriters like Linda Perry and Guy Chambers. All of which prove that theres a lot of depth to this modern, musical hero. --Robert Burrow
Top customer reviews
I'm in my earyl 40's and my daughter 17...She loves this music just as much!
Back to reviewing this CD...what can I say is just I LOVE every song.
HIGH--is JB's way of describing how he felt watching the rising sun. According to JB, the inspiration came to him after staying late at night and witnessing the dawn. It's very uplifting.
YOU're BEAUTIFUL--I'm sure everybody knows about this by now. It's his first single & video in the US. The song is very simple, but very addicting. I don't know why. It may seem simple, but it's actually hard to sing to it. I love this song.
WISEMEN--very fun & catchy song. I love the part, where he ask, "Where are you now?"
GOODBYE MY LOVER--according to JB, it is the most personal song for him. He recorded it in the bathroom of Carrie Fisher (Actress) in Los Angeles, where she actually keeps a grand piano. During his concert, he pours his heart when singing this song, and I got teary-eyed. I was overwhelmed by this song.
TEARS & RAIN--is my favorite! This is the song, which I can totally connect with James. To me it's about looking deep inside you, surveying your inner feelings & thoughts about life and the present time. My favorite lines are:
"How I wish I could walk through the doors of my mind;
Hold memory close at hand,Help me understand the years.
How I wish I could choose between Heaven and Hell. How I wish I would save my soul.I'm so cold from fear. I guess it's time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,All pleasure's the same: it just keeps me from trouble.Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray."
OUT OF MY MIND--is another catchy & fast song. love the lyrics: Judging by the look on the organ grinder,
He'll judge me by the fact that my face don't fit.
It's touching that the MONKEY sits on my shoulder. James using the "Monkey King" in his logo. There is a great story behind that monkey :p
SO LONG JIMMY--great lyrics & music. One of the highlight in JB's concert. He just love performing this song. What've heard this is dedicated to the famous JIMs Morrison & Hendrix. As you may know, James is also Jimmy. I guess James is trying to compare his humble self & songwriting skills to the famous JIMs.
BILLY--is about a prodigal son. According JB, he wrote this song for Billy, an irresponsible friend :) who owes him money and who's now in-charge of website: jamesblunt.com. Billy is really a coold guy!!
CRY--another favorite of mind. This song is just like talking to a friend while trying to help her open up and speak to you. It's about friendship & sharing during those dificult time.
NO BRAVERY--a very emotional song not just for James but to the listeners. This is based on his experience as a soldier in Kosovo war. In concert, he plays the piano with great intensity and variety of emotions. You can hear in the song what he's feeling...sadness, fear, fury, disappointment,etc. I can't forget James's eyes and face when he sang this, as if he's reliving the war again. It breaks my heart, but what a release!!!
I have enjoyed this album, as an entire album, more than any other I've purchased since Damien Rice's "O" and Joseph Arthur's "Redemption's Son" (both of which I consider 5 star albums).
I usually end up making my own mixes on iTunes because listening to one artist gets monotonous; it's unusual for me to find entire albums that have a consistently listenable mix of tempos, subjects, and sounds. some of these songs are catchy in the classic pop mode ("Wise" Men, for example), others are more quiet and restful. It's a pleasantly varied, mellow mix--if I have to compare it to any other recent albums in that respect, I think it's a lot like Howie Day's "Stop All The World Now" (with the song "Collide"). It cohabitates in the cd changer well with Coldplay. It doesn't do well with Sigur Ros or Black Eyed Peas. It just depends on the mood of the day.
Whether you also enjoy this album will depend on what you want out of it - if you expect it to be the next huge innovation in folk rock, I think you'll be disappointed. But if you enjoy "You're Beautiful" (at least, if you did before the radio played it to death), I think you will like the rest of "Back to Bedlam".