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The Afterlove - Album reviews Expand / Collapse
Posted 30 March 2017 05:08

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Post #282447
Posted 30 March 2017 12:54

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Posted on March 29, 2017 by elenapedigo

The Afterlove (Extended Version) [Explicit]

If you listened to popular music around 2005-2006, or even if you didn’t, you probably heard James Blunt’s breakout single “You’re Beautiful”, and you probably developed a strong opinion about it. Many people hated it. I quite liked it, but here we have the irony of the breakout single: I heard it SO MUCH that, as much as I enjoyed it, I’d kind of had enough of it without ever actually buying the album or anything. And when I did listen to some of Blunt’s other music, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, hearing it as I was through the filter of THE SINGLE. I suspected that I probably should and would appreciate Blunt’s other work, but it was never quite my genre, and I was too lazy to make the effort (appreciating good music takes training and effort, and at the time I was either ill, or doing a forced march through the greats of Russian literature–the two are not unrelated), and, well…here we are in 2017, and I’m listening to an entire James Blunt album for the first time.

So. Just to get one thing out of the way: “You’re Beautiful” is all over “The Afterlove.” Not because Blunt seems to be trying to recapture the same old formula, but because the persona of this album knows he’ll never be able to escape the stigma of his sudden, unbelievable success. “Would’ve said you’re beautiful,” he says in “Love Me Better,” the opening track, “but I’ve used that line before.” And in “2005” he sings that “all I do is apologize / For a song I wrote in 2005.” This could sound whining, or irritatingly self-referential, but it comes off as dryly humble. Blunt’s lyrical persona isn’t so much angry as he is aware that, by winning the fame lottery, he’s become a figure of fun and a background for other people’s selfies. But that doesn’t insulate him from the pain of that awareness, or the fact that “people say the meanest things,” as he tells us in “Loves Me Better.”

And while Blunt’s sudden vault to stardom looms large in the foreground, the theme of betterment weaves its way through the background, not just in the obvious places like “Love Me Better” and the centrally placed song “Make Me Better”, but throughout the album. Blunt’s persona seems aware in every song that no matter how good or bad things are, they could be better, and that he wants to be a better person. Which is where many listeners may be able to find a commonality with the album’s story. Most of us never have, and probably never will, suddenly achieve superstar status, but most of us probably will know about feeling vaguely dissatisfied with our inability to get our lives and relationships together (“Don’t Give Me Those Eyes”), or having good moments in the midst of awkward relationships (“Time Of Our Lives”). The songs are all grounded in specific situations and images, sometimes painfully (to me) so: my main problem with Blunt’s lyrics has always been that he tends to just blurt out a lot of stuff that I might think, but wouldn’t want to say out loud. Which I guess is why he’s the professional pop singer, and I’m not.

Although there’s plenty of gentle melancholy in the album, and the placement of the deliciously catchy “Over” as the final song puts a bit of a damper on the theme of betterment, it’s not a downer by any means: the overall mood is often hopeful. A quick gander on Wikipedia told me that Blunt got married comparatively recently, and then had a son, and, since this seems to be an overtly biographical album, I’m going to make the guess that these two cheerful events are behind the upbeat mood of a number of the songs, and that there are a number of more or less veiled references to them. That being said, you don’t need to know that to enjoy them: if you are into tender love ballads (I’m agnostic on that score, but I find these to be pretty good) that are actually love ballads, and not a creepy story of stalking and depression that has somehow been mistaken for a love song, then “Make Me Better” and “Time Of Our Lives” are top-drawer representatives of the genre. And there are also several slick syncopated pop songs that will get your toes tapping: apparently Blunt worked with Ed Sheeran on the album, and it shares the combination of lush love songs and finger-snapping pop beats that marks Sheeran’s recent release “Divide” (why did you have to name your album with a symbol that isn’t on my keyboard, Sheeran?!). In fact, the overall sound of the album, other than that of Blunt himself, of course, is somehow like a mix of classic Journey and recent Ed Sheeran. If the very idea of that makes you want to run off and vomit, then you’re almost certain not to like this album, but if you enjoy any of those artists, even as a guilty pleasure, this album is certainly worth checking out. I frankly admit that I only listened to it on a whim, but I liked it way more than I expected: it’s catchy, heartfelt, and a bit more mature and thoughtful than the productions of many of Blunt’s younger colleagues. So a pop album for grownups who haven’t quite gotten things together on the inside.

Post #282455
Posted 30 March 2017 13:04

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Here's 2 more in-depth customer reviews posted on Amazon UK. If you bought the album via Amazon, please don't hesitate to share your appreciation on their website.


Customer Review - Amazon UK

5.0 out of 5 stars
More of the same, with a few surprises, 24 March 2017
By Brit Boy

James Blunt warmed the hearts of millions of people across the globe some thirteen years ago with those sentimental hits like 'You're Beautiful' and 'Goodbye My Lover', and gained a reputation of writing miserable songs, which the man himself has recently admitted that he is ''tired of doing''.

I've always enjoyed James' music, and regard him amongst the most memorable singer-songwriters of my time. His fifth studio album 'The Afterlove', his first in almost four years marks a slight change of direction, but remains on form, and ultimately keeps in with the familiar style that we've come to know Mr. Blunt for.

For this project, he enlisted the help of his talented good friend Ed Sheeran, and this younger hit maker encouraged James with his songwriting. The pair worked on one of the album's standout tracks, 'Make Me Better', a tender, autobiographical ballad where the man, who finds himself at his most vulnerable speaks of his family. The following song, 'Heartbeat', also has Ed's input, and is another trademark, comforting Blunt love song. The folksy 'Time Of Our Lives' is another high point.

Whilst it's clear that James still favours the ballads, and feels most comfortable with them, there are a few surprises that makes this a different record to the others. The opening track and lead single came as something of a shock when I first heard it, I didn't know whether I liked it or not, but it has grown on me. 'Love Me Better' is a confessional, R+B-flavoured track, which carries an important message. The second single, 'Bartender' is a catchy, upbeat, feel-good love song which had me addicted from the first listen. It is currently my most played song on the album, and if only we had a decent singles chart in this country again, I have no doubt that it would have been an instant hit, but as of today, it has failed to make an impact. 'Lose My Number' is another different style for James, a edgy dance track with a moody club sound that Ed would be proud of.

Rest assured, although James Blunt has decided to broaden his range, this is very much a collection of songs in a style that long-term fans will be familiar with, and will enjoy. There are a few pleasant surprises which might not win James over to a great number of new fans, but if you're ever enjoyed his work, then 'The Afterlove' is a welcome return that should satisfy you greatly.

Post #282456
Posted 30 March 2017 13:07

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5.0 out of 5 stars
Even when i'm dead and gone, i'm hoping someone's singing along...
By MrBojangles on 28 March 2017

I have never understood why there is a strange kind of snobbery towards James Blunt, indeed even James himself is in on the joke and will happily poke fun at himself (the new album advert is hilarious). I can only assume it is the usual mentality of being so huge, that people often try and tear you down.

Thankfully, James seems to see this as a challenge and whilst the classic 'back to bedlam' is a masterpiece, all of his subsequent albums have been strong collections of songs. The Afterlove is no exception, and is crammed full of fantastic songs. The opening two singles mark a departure in his previous sound and both sound fresh and modern without sounding like a desperate shot at clinging to fame. I love the fact he squeezes in the cheeky homage to his massive hit 'you're beautiful' with the line 'woud've said you're beautiful but I used that line before' in opening track 'Love Me Better'.

James has enlisted not one but two of the best songwriters in the word at the moment, Ryan Tedder once again is involved, after the guys success of the single 'Bonfire Heart' from the previous album, and no other than Ed Sheeren himself is involved as co-writer on a few songs. The style Ed brings to the table, really suits James and manages to combine his classic style with Ed's contempory winning formula and really gives the album some sparkle. Highlights for me include the rnb and trance tinged 'Lose My Number' the tempo morphing 'Heartbeat' with its delicious harmonies. The beautifully moving 'Courtney's Song' (you must get the extended album as the 3 additional songs are brilliant) and my absolute favorite which is 'Someone Singing Along', which really tugs at me for some reason, with its bouncy classic James Blunt verse that moves into this heart melting chorus.

Music is a very personal thing, and everybody has a right to dislike what they are listening, but here you have 13 really strong tracks that touch on different styles, whilst still making a cohesive and often moving record. Even enlisting the help of a few hitmakers, James still holds his unique style at the core, and his instantly recognisable voice is a welcome return to my ears. Worth 5 stars all day long, and I urge anyone wondering whether to buy The Afterlove or not, to part with their hard earned cash - you won't regret it.
Post #282457
Posted 01 April 2017 16:56

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Pure M, 01/04/2017
By Danielle Holian
5 stars

The Afterlove, is the fifth studio album released by James Blunt. In 2016, Blunt announced online that he was releasing a new record this year, stating, “If you thought 2016 was bad — I’m releasing an album in 2017.”

In the opening song, ‘Love Me Better’ Blunt sings the musical punchline “People say the meanest things/ I’ve been called a dick/ I’ve been called so many things,” providing the listeners with a humorous upbeat first track. It’s a new light for him with the modern pop and fresh production co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. The lyrics showcase his bitterness yet entertaining side.

In the past few years, he has taken to Twitter to make fun of himself, so it’s no wonder there is a self-aware temperament and his sense of humour shines throughout the latest record.

The second single, ‘Bartender’ is a feel-good, catchy, and upbeat love song.

‘Someone Singing Along’, and ‘Make Me Better’ are unavoidably great singles with catchy and uplifting feels with happy choruses.

‘Lose My Number’ sees him change direction as he admits, “I didn’t mean to stalk you”, drifting off after someone with his synthesized percussion high voice.

Each track is almost chart-friendly with a tropical dance-pop production behind it. The energy ropes the listener in with the clichéd and inoffensive lyrics and appealing melodies.

‘California’ has a Rhythms and Blues feel to it. Abandoning the acoustic guitar, the turn on beat over his glitchy vocals pay off soaking the listener into the sunny feel of electronica.

‘Time of Our Lives’ and ‘Heartbeat’ display the records production skills challenging two comfortable, tender and great ballads sending chills down the listener’s spine. These couple of tracks shows the old Blunt is still here, but taking a new direction with his music.

Over the ten songs, Blunt has co-written The Afterlove, with nearly 20 co-writers (including A-list collaborators like Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, Johnny McDaid, Amy Wadge and Adonis Shropshire) covering a wide range of musical styles writing almost autobiographical lyrics.

The record still keeps his reputation alive of Blunt writing miserable songs, although most tracks have an uplifting beat to them. Throughout each track, he ultimately keeps in with the familiar style people who have supported him since ‘You’re Beautiful’ would know him for.

The album in itself is a courageous offer for present-day music in 2017. Blunt has stepped outside of his comfort zone for this record. He’s bringing a polarized movement to the charts. It’s different with amazing lyrics, unforgettable music and a great production behind the whole project.

The Afterlove, concludes with ‘Paradise’ proving this is his best album to date. Blunt may not be for everyone, but he is most certainly a guilty pleasure.
Post #282532
Posted 01 April 2017 17:07

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MUSIC: James Blunt's new album a gift for loved-up couples
1st Apr 2017

JAMES Blunt fans who want to get married this year have been delivered a couple of crackers to walk down the aisle to on his fifth album, The Afterlove.

The album opens with Love Me Better, an upbeat start that is the first option for brides and grooms-to-be this year. Blunt, who is almost as well known for his scathing and hilarious Twitter feed with 1.32 million followers, had some big hitters collaborate on this latest offering.

Ed Sheeran, plus songwriters Ryan Tedder, Amy Wadge (who has also worked with Sheeran) and Stephan Moccio (Miley Cyrus) all had input.

Track five, Someone Singing Along, is an acoustic tune with folksy overtones. It is a relief following the more emotional ballads at the beginning of the album that explore the nature of love, love lost, and longing.

California is a light-hearted, synth-heavy track with tight production. It is a standout.

Song seven, Make Me Better, is the second track on the album for all those loved-up couples out there who are struggling to find that first bridal waltz song. Track eight, Time Of Our Lives, incorporates some sharp keyboard work with an Irish-type lilt to it. With lyrics like "there's so much love under these lights”, it's an easy third option for engaged couples.

The guitar is back and prominent for Heartbeat. The more rapid tempo kicks the album into the last quarter.

The latest offering is the follow-up to the 2013 album, Moon Landing. Blunt's debut, Back to Bedlam, sold more than 11 million copies. The musician will perform at this year's Logies on April 23.

Post #282533
Posted 01 April 2017 17:24

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The Tech Talk is the student voice of Louisiana Tech University (USA)

After years of silence James Blunt returns
Starla Gatson, Managing Editor
March 31, 2017

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.

Post #282534
Posted 04 April 2017 04:35

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Talented writer James Blunt should stop following the Ed Sheerans of the world and do his own thing [Review]
Young Post, by Chris Gillett
April 02, 2017

2 stars/5

Despite selling more than 20 million albums, James Blunt recently took songwriting lessons from Ed Sheeran in the lead up to his latest album The Afterlove.

The record opens with Love Me Better and Bartender. They’re almost identical, with plucked guitars paired with the clumsy lyrics. Lose My Number maintains this sunset vibe with R&B clicks and detuned Caribbean keyboard chords. Although the chorus is explosive, and highlights Blunt’s falsetto well, they all sound like imitations of Sheeran.

He shows a little more diversity in Don’t Give Me Those Eyes, a piano-led ballad crammed with harmonies that belong to a 90s boy band. California is musically the most interesting song, but is once again ruined by his vocals, using a lower register which doesn’t suit him.

The Afterlove finishes on a high note, and signals the direction Blunt should have taken from the start. Heartbeat is a highlight, with a nod to Sting, while Time of Our Lives is a far more emotive acoustic ballad, and a reminder of why everyone’s mum fancies him.

Overall, it’s a little sad that the talented writer who set alight radio stations with hits like You’re Beautiful is now chasing the tail of others to try to stay relevant.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as "Believe in yourself, James!"


Chris Gillett
Musician and writer. Contributes weekly music reviews and local band features to Young Post. Guitarist and songwriter for UK-based rock band Zurich.
Post #282617
Posted 05 April 2017 21:42

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This one is very harsh. When we read the loads of positive comments on Twitter for the album, it reminds us there's a whole world between music critics and the people who actually buy the music and follow the artist.


Album review: James Blunt's The Afterlove
George Fenwick
New Zealand Herald
April 6, 2017

2 stars/5

It's hard to know what James Blunt wants his listeners to think. On his Twitter feed, he's a funny, laid-back sort of self-deprecating. But on the opening lines of Love Me Better, the first song on The Afterlove, he's a sad, sensitive soul: "People say the meanest things/I've been called a dick, I've been called so many things."

Aside from the fact that Blunt begins his so-called comeback album by rhyming "things" with "things" (remarkable), Love Me Better comes across as a cry for help. He references his 12-year-old single You're Beautiful before the song veers suddenly into a strange attempt at Calvin Harris-inspired tropical house.

It's all downhill from there. Bartender sounds like it's by a Coldplay cover band, and Lose My Number is an icky example of male entitlement, with Blunt heartbroken over a "callous" girl who won't call him back ("I didn't mean to stalk you/but I saw that guy you talked to/everybody knows I'm jealous").

Though it's commendable when artists take risks and try new genres, Blunt's shot at relevance comes across as an inauthentic attempt to resurface on Top 40 charts next to much younger, fresher singers. The Afterlove is packed full of lyrics that sound like a 15-year-old experiencing his first crush, and the mediocre production walks firmly in the footsteps of post-pop Ed Sheeran or Maroon 5. It's entirely forgettable, and at best a timely reminder of the kind of music we don't need in 2017.

Verdict: James Blunt's shot at relevance is a complete misfire
Post #282678
Posted 05 April 2017 21:57

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can't discount critics reviews though it is their job to be critical if needs be! - sometimes it takes more of a critic to go against the public sway of opinion on things and stick his neck out if he doesn't feel moved by something. too many go along with a consensus of opinion sometimes even if they think differently. I like mixed reviews on things for a more balanced view. unless an album is so amazing it blows everyones mind! which 99 our of 100 don't!
Post #282679
Posted 07 April 2017 20:36

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Album Review: The Afterlove by James Blunt

Times Of India
Reza Noorani
Apr 7, 2017

For an album that took four years in the making, it seems British pop star James Blunt has given his fifth studio album, which released on March 24, a considerable amount of time. Was it worth the wait? Hardly.

The 10-track-long album, with three bonus/ extended tracks is a mix of pop, house and EDM, showing that Blunt has moved on with times. The standout tracks are easily 'Love Me Better', which alternates between peppy and moody, and has the singer take a dig at his own biggest hit, 'You're Beautiful'. The next one, 'Bartender', is a well-written song and clearly a club number. His finest writing though, is on 'Courteney's Song', where he pays tribute to the late actress Carrie Fisher. Blunt has also collaborated with buddy Ed Sheeran as a writer on 'Make Me Better' and 'Time of Our Lives', which are just about okay, and Sheeran's star power still can't turn them to chart toppers. Still, the effort and humour throughout the album is commendable.

Post #282728
Posted 07 April 2017 21:50

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Love the fact the couple of negative reviews don't actually read as negative, like the one listed today headline is not worth waiting for the album then praises half the tracks on it there was another one which said 2/5 then went on about how several songs where great, it's almost like some reviewers feel the need to sound negative but then can't actually say anything bad. Maybe they would be better at politics where everyone speaks but no one actually says anything lol
Post #282729
Posted 10 April 2017 04:53

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Wire Magazine (USA), Issue 13, 30 March 2017, page 11

Top Trax
by DJ FR8-O

Feeling Blunt-y
James Blunt's beautiful comeback

Just when we thought the male romantic was virtually extinct, one of the most under-rated balladeers or our generation returns with another volume of tales that tug at the heartstrings, jerk at the tears and get those butterflies all riled up again. James Blunt first crooned his way into our hearts as the shaggy-haired hipster on the 2007 Grammy-nominated hit "You're Beautiful." Fast-forward a decade later and the British singer-songwriter has matured in ways that would put even the most expensive bottle of wine to shame. Still focused around themes of the heart, his latest love story, The Afterlove, exposes Blunt's most vulnerable side yet.

In an era when pop music is being ruled by stiletto-clad divas in flashy couture, it's not easy for a guy to compete for attention visually, much less musically. It used to be that unless you were singing club bangers about how many girls want to ride your junk or you're hangin' with your boys in your music vids, you might as well be singing in the shower. That's all about to change though. With more solo artists of the male persuasion – like Sean Mendes and Ed Sheeran – taking front-and-center with their guitars (or pianos) and spilling their guts onstage through songs about heartbreak and loss, it seems like the boys are ready to make a hostile takeover. Blunt is the latest soldier to join this new musical coup. Althouth he's been M.I.A. in the States for some time now, he's no stranger to competing with (and beating) the ladies for the top spot on the charts – and this might be the album that gets him there.

It's only his fifth time out of the gate since his 2004 debut Back To Bedlam, but like any good artist, the 43-year-old has been progressively stepping up his game from one album to the next. With The Afterlove, not only has his writing reached a whole new level, his sound has evolved to satisfy the appetite of even the most insatiable pop junkie; all thanks to genius producers like Ryan Tedder, Zazh Skelton and Ed Sheeran. The lead single and album opener "Love Me Better" instantly sets the tone with cheeky references to Blunt's iconic debut with the line "Would've said 'You're Beautiful,' but I've used that line before." Its mid-tempo bassline could easily be mistaken for a slightly stripped down version of a Chainsmokers track (only better).

The equally mesmerizing "Bartender" is sure to be this summer's new drinking anthem boasting the infectious chorus "Bartender can you pour some lo-o-o-o-o-o-ve?" I can already hear the whisky-induced, slurred sing-a-longs. If you've ever been on the receiving end of a shady ghosting, Blunt's got your new theme song with "Lose My Number" as he tries to decipher the mystery behind his lover's sudden disappearing act. And make sure to have the Kleenex close by before listening to the heart wrenching "Don't Give Me Those Eyes" or the haunting "Heartbeat." The rest of the set flows seamlessly between, folky serenades and understated proclamations of devotion that would bring Cupid himself to his knees. Ironically, Blunt wraps up this lovefest on a bitter note with the funk-driven, middle-finger-in-the-air, break-up closer "Over."

The Afterlove could be the project that finally pulls James Blunt out of obscurity and back into the spotlight where incredibly talented artists like him deserve to be.

Post #282753
Posted 10 April 2017 19:00
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Loved this review. I really love the 3 songs on the extended version and wish people would pay attention to them.
Post #282758
Posted 16 April 2017 02:31

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Twitter king of the one-liners is still king of the ballads

Dorset Echo
Joanna Davis

BENEFITING from a Twitter publicity boost due to his witty comebacks to trolls who have attempted to make him a figure of derision, James Blunt proves why he should still be making music with The Afterlove.

The album makes a return to the disco sound Blunt did so expertly with 1973 with some tracks bringing a pulsating energy to the album like 2005 and California.

This was always going to be a collection on the receiving end of a sniffy response, but it’s not the critics who Blunt is trying to impress.

The faithful who helped make You’re Beautiful such a huge hit won’t be disappointed with the lyric on lead single Love Me Better -‘would have said ‘you’re beautiful’ but I used that line before’.

Blunt’s pal Ed Sheeran has penned some of the tracks, while a host of other time-served songwriters have also chipped in. The result is as polished as one would expect but it’s also a little uninspiring.

Although Love Me Better follows a new direction it was Blunt’s lowest charting hit only reaching 43, not stacking up to the quality of the ballads on the album - all unashamedly gushy and instantly memorable.

The Afterlove is a solid album with the ballads the top drawer attraction.

Post #282817
Posted 16 April 2017 21:50

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The Irish News 24/03/2017
Rob Lavender

James Blunt's The Afterlove not as snappy as his Twitter feed

"If YOU thought 2016 was bad," tweeted self-effacing popstar James Blunt last year, "I'm releasing an album in 2017". The You're Beautiful singer is undoubtedly one of the wittiest stars of social media, but does this transpose to musical ability? Well, he's had four hit albums already, with previous offering Moon Landing easily reaching Platinum status. And for this, he's had help: his pal Ed Sheeran has penned some of the tracks, while a host of other time-served songwriters have also chipped in. The result is as polished as one would expect, but it's also uninspiring. Lead single Love Me Better was his lowest-charting in almost a decade, peaking at 43 – and, it must be said, deservedly so. Follow-up Bartender is no better, with its hackneyed refrain: "Bartender can you pour me some love?" Not bad, by any means – but unlike his Twitter feed – it's far from great.

Post #282821
Posted 18 April 2017 02:34

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Exeposé is the University of Exeter’s student newspaper, produced entirely by and for students.

By Adam Goldsmith - Mar 27, 2017
1 star/5

James Blunt has taken some time off from his job as Twitter funny-man to do something musical again, but even his warm-hearted irony and relative self-awareness can't prevent this album from being a collection of useless, derivative and insubstantial tripe (brutal subtitle in the hope he might tweet us a hilarious burn in his defence).

From the moment Blunt released the teaser trailer in which he appeared naked in a bathtub, his modesty covered only by his own 12-inch vinyl, you could tell big things were coming (Pun fully intended). Well ladies and gentlemen, big things have indeed come. The master of savaging people on twitter has taken a step away from his newly found comic genius to go back to the recording studio.

Undoubtedly this album will split opinion. From a purely critical perspective ‘The Afterlove’ is bad. The music is an unoriginal blend of Bieber-esque tropical house and the lyrics are deeply uninspiring. For a man who has previously produced genuine hits and is known worldwide, the album almost feels like a parody. But isn’t that the point? Blunt is a man who is clearly aware of his un-coolness. The songs on the album are highly unlikely to break into the top 20 of the charts and yet their sound undeniably mimics such tracks. It is perhaps a stretch too far to liken the album to some form of political statement on the music industry which Blunt finds himself in, however, there is certainly a hearty smattering of irony which pervades through the album. The self-referential lyrics; ‘would have said that you’re beautiful but I’ve used that line before’ develop a theme of ironic self-deprecation which not only communicates a Blunt personality (geddit??), but is arguably refreshing in an industry where it is typical for most artists to go to great lengths to ensure their audience are well aware of just how brilliant they are through the form of song (Kanye I’m looking at you).


‘Love Me Better’, opens and sets the trend for the album and it is immediately obvious that this is not the same James Blunt who wrote songs about mysterious girls who smiled at him on the subway. Oh no, this is a man who has returned with a vengeance. Blunt unashamedly jumps on the pop bandwagon, the song kicking the album off with vibes that wouldn’t be out of place at Antics Thursdays. ‘Bartender’ follows, blending seamlessly into the first and providing a sound clearly influenced by buddy Ed Sheeran who helped co-write many of the songs.

Of course not all the tracks are certified club bangers. Deserving of a mention for being downright awful is ‘California’; a deeply uninspiring offering which would have any talented up-and-coming singer-songwriters desperate for a recording contract grinding their teeth. Nonetheless, both ‘Someone’s Singing Along’ and ‘Heartbeat’ provide a catchy guitar riff supplemented by a heavily auto-tuned voice and lyrics which do invoke some sympathy for a man who seems to have suffered abuse all his career despite never doing anything wrong other than producing a slightly odd pop song. Perhaps the most surprising and brilliant moment on the album is ‘Courtney’s Song’, written with the late Carrie Fisher in mind, it stands out in an album of shameless pop songs as a genuinely reflective track.


In all seriousness, this album is far from perfect. The songs seem to blend into one big pop mashup which play by every rule in the book bar actually being any good. However, if you just suspend your disbelief when listening to the album and have in mind the comic genius behind it, you can do nothing but appreciate the character which clearly comes through. It is a moment of clarity and self-acceptance in an industry where artists frequently pretend to be someone they aren’t; the man is definitely not a current pop singer and he acknowledges this by providing an album of absolute textbook clangers. James Blunt freely acknowledges that he is ‘proof that one song is all you need’. Perhaps he should have quit while he was ahead, but I for one respect his tenacity to continue to produce hilariously dreadful music.

We do, however, applaud Blunters for his honesty and enthusiasm, and give him 5 stars on that front.

Post #282851
Posted 29 April 2017 04:39

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More reviews by Amazon customers.

Get ready for some beautiful music with James! April 14 2017
By David Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: LP Record
This is actually my very first purchase of music by James. I've always liked the radio play in the past and found out he is the opening act for Ed Sheeran on the US leg of his tour. I played some from prime and really found that I really like his style and then realized that Ed co-wrote several song on this new album.

The Afterlove is a mix of songs that have a relaxing feeling about them. He shows off his vocal ability in Don't Give Me Those Eyes. It is a beautiful song that is really moving. The album contains explicit lyrics - fine by me but the title track Love Me Better is not for kids I love the song though.

I purchased this on vinyl as I do most of my music these days. It is pressed on 180g vinyl and my copy is an import. I've fallen back in love with vinyl and so glad artist are releasing in this format. On Amazon you get the 'auto-rip' feature and you also get a digital download card so you can load it to your apple ecosystem. I will come back and review more of the songs here in detail - not a bad track! Also, the pictures are from the vinyl copy - so you may not get everything with the CD.


Wonderful album! April 26 2017
By Dale Crowley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Wonderful album!!!! James Blunt is such a great talent! I feel blessed to share the planet with such a deep and wonderful soul that shares his emotions through his music!


3.5 stars... Ed Sheeran to the rescue! March 24 2017
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When we last heard from erstwhile can't-do-anything-wrong singer-songwriter James "You're beautiful" Blunt, it was Fall, 2013 when he released his 4th album ("Moon Landing"), which came and went pretty much without any trace, at least in the US. Likewise with Blunt's 2014 EP "Smoke Signals". So what do you do when you are desperate to turn around your once so brilliant career? You call on the biggest name in the music biz and hope for a helping hand, that's what. Enter Ed Sheeran, who seemingly turns everything he touches these days into gold, actually make that platinum. Sheeran acts as a co-producer and also co-writes two of the songs on here (and also provides the occasional background vocals).

"The Afterlove" (13 tracks; 49 min.) opens with "Love Me Better" (1st UK single), quite a curious choice for the lead-off single as it is an okay tune, but certainly not the best one here, not by a long shot. Better is "Bartender" (2nd UK single). In the middle of the album, we get the two Sheeran co-penned tunes: the sweet "Make Me Better" and the contemplative "Time of Our Lives". If you are looking for up-tempo songs, they are far and few between: "Someone Singing Along" (which I think should've been the lead-off single), the already mentioned "Bartender", and the album closer "Over", that's it. Still, this album is an improvement over "Moon Landing" (but that's just my opinion of course), even if it could've benefitted from 1 or 2 more up-tempo songs. Still, if you are excepting a return of the "Back to Bedlam" or "All the Lost Souls" sound, you will be disappointed.

I had the good fortune of seeing Blunt in concert at Coachella 2006, when he was at his commercial and artistic peak. What a fabulous set that was! Hard to believe that was over a decade ago already. In case you hadn't heard, Ed Sheeran earlier this week announced that Blunt will be opening for him on all of his upcoming massive US tour dates (late June through early October). Looks like no stone is left unturned to get Blunt's career in the US back on track.


4.5 out of 5. A very nice offering by a great singer/ songwriter. March 31 2017
By bballbm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: LP Record
"Saw you standing outside a bar. Would have said your beautiful, but I used that line before " from opening track Love Me Better. I'm sorry but I think its pretty witty and funny. And that's not the only song about "your beautiful". 2005 is a self loathing song about the hit from his Back to Bedlam smash hit album. While I truly like the song, I really don't get the negative spin he puts on his career and "Your Beautiful" specifically. I own between 5000-6000 cds. Hundreds of LPs and cassettes (still). One of my all time top 5 favorites is Back to Bedlam. The ENTIRE album was superb and memorable. I understand the cracks people make because of "Your Beautiful" Was WAAAAYYY overplayed. But that song wasn't even the best of the album. "No Bravery" is SO well written, sung and composed. Tells a very haunting story that puts you in the devastation of the Kosovo war and the war crimes committed. And MANY other songs of that album were just as top notch...but I digress.....
The Afterlove is a mature, more insightful look into James' feelings and thoughts as a older, arguably more mature person. Make Me Better and Time of Our Lives are co written with Ed Sheeran- another great singer songwriter. But I feel like his influence is on many of James' songs on this album. One of my favorite songs is California. When listening to it, ALL I could think of is how much it reminds me of Ed. There are a couple of throw away songs on here in my opinion which take away .5 stars. But overall this is a very solid and enjoyable listening experience.


Likely his best work since 'All the Lost Souls' April 24 2017
By Thiago Sardenberg - Published on Amazon.com
I've followed James's career since his first album came out; I became a fan at around the time 'Goodbye, My Lover' was released as a single. There was something so simple and yet so brutally real about that song that made me want to know the album as a whole. I ended up loving it. By the time his second album came out, I was a fan. For me, his second album is his strongest yet; both lirically and musically that album is complex and just wonderful to listen to. The initial, chilling notes to 1973; the chorus to I Really Want you; the catchy 'ah oohs' of Same Mistake. I still listen to it.

Then came the 3rd and 4th albums; I own them both and while I do like songs like "I'll be your man" and "Stay the Night" (from the 3rd album, representing a very different sound for Blunt) or "Bonfire Heart" and "Heart to Heart" (from the 4th), I feel like, as a whole, the albums were... well, not as memorable as the first two. While I can listen to the 1st or the 2nd from beginning to end, I always find myself skipping half of the 3rd or the 4th.

Then we come to the 5th, "The Afterlove". I was very pleased when I heard "Love me Better", since it was, yet again, a different sound for the singer, but one that's just right for him. He's neither repeating himself nor trying to do something deliberately different for the sake of it; it's simply his music... evolving. Great sound. Then, I listened to the album and was very pleased to realize that it's one I can listen to from beginning to end... without skipping. The high points, for me, come with, yes, "Love me Better" but also "Bartender", "Heartbeat" and the one that is my favorite in this album: "Time of Our lives", which, in many ways, reminds me of "Goodbye My lover". They're very different songs, but I like them both for the same reasons. Great to see Blunt back in form!

Post #283005
Posted 05 May 2017 19:27

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Q Magazine, Issue 371, May 2017, page 100

You're Beautiful man takes on the haters with run-of-the-mill fifth.

It's tough to ignore the concept of "James Blunt" when you're listening to the singer's fifth LP, and he knows it. His sassy persona and a coterie of hit-makers have resulted in a record that is part zippy riposte to haters, part full-on ballads. Experimentation amounts to a few post-Bieber bloops, but it struggles to hold attention because even Blunt's poppiest songs start the same way as his ballads: a downbeat vocal about ghosting, love or how Twitter hates him. He pokes fun at his 2005 mega-hit You're Beautiful on Love Me Better, a half-speed "yer da does tropical house" number, and although more sultry California-style tracks and less soaring piano balladry would be nice, existing fans will be happy. 2 stars

Kate Solomon

Listen to: California | Don't Give Me Those Eyes

Post #283083
Posted 21 May 2017 21:51

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This reviewer is based in Montreal.


James Blunt's The Afterlove is just another pop album
By Trent B Minia
4 April 2017

With four high chart-topping studio albums under his name, the British pop singer James Blunt aims for a positive return with his fifth album, The Afterlove, which was released almost four years after his last album, Moon Landing.

The Afterlove begins with three tracks, “Love Me Better,” “Bartender,” and “Lose My Number.” The arrangements of these songs delivers pretty much everything recent pop music already has had to offer. James Blunt simply doesn’t deliver anything exciting or unique that stands out. Any listeners expecting James Blunt to immediately offer something different and fresh would surely feel let down here.

The album puts on the brakes and James Blunt shows his softer side with the song, “Don’t Give Me Those Eyes.” It’s around this point of The Afterlove that James Blunt begins to show a more genuine delivery with his music. The four-minute track has a respectable melody and overall instrumental arrangement that emits a heartfelt atmosphere, but the quality of the lyrics may not be strong enough to earn the respect of the more critical music fans. “Someone Singing Along” has a fairly groovy sound, with a steady beat and a catchy chorus that should get listeners to nod their head and tap their feet. “California” hears James Blunt use some indie and 80s pop elements, but the theme of the song surrounding the glorification of the west coast might bore some listeners. “Make Me Better” hears a more minimalistic arrangement that builds up and rich lyrics, and it all sounds good. It kind of makes sense that the quality is particularly high here, because look who co-wrote and produced the single: That’s right, it’s the lovable Ed Sheeran! He also co-wrote the next track, “Time of Our Lives.” This particular track. which was released as a Valentine’s Day promotional single, has a strong dreamy atmosphere with just the right arrangement, resulting in a happy, stress-free love song.

“Time of Our Lives” sets up The Afterlove for its finale, first with “Heartbeat” which hears a gloomy vibe, and “Paradise,” an up-beat feel-good track.

The extended version of the album offers three additional tracks. The first one is “Courtney’s Song,” a four minute song about letting go. It initially starts off sad and ends with a little uplifting vibe to make the feeling of letting go difficult but possible. The second bonus track is “2005,” another song with a minimalistic arrangement that is in response to a song that he released in 2005. You know, that one. The final track of the extended version, “Over,” is an up-beat post-breakup song that helps conquers the feeling of knowing you’ve been cheated on.

Overall, James Blunt’s The Afterlove is nothing but a disappointment. The album certainly has some bright moments and it just so happens that two of the songs in this album that I mildly like involves Ed Sheeran. The Afterlove fails to show any unique, James Blunt-esque style, and instead is just a collection featuring an uninspiring chunk of songs pop radio already had to offer. There’s no doubt that this album will continue to soar up the charts, but listeners who are expecting something new, fresh, and different will very likely feel let down.

Reviewer rating: 6/10

The Afterlove has some bright moments, as some tracks offer pleasing instrumentals and lyrics that will please the pop crowd.

Among all the other records dominating pop radio, The Afterlove doesn’t offer anything fresh. A unique James Blunt-esque style doesn’t show in the album and listeners looking for something different will very likely feel let down.

James Blunt makes his return with his fifth studio album, The Afterlove, almost four years since the release of Moon Landing. The Afterlove fails to show a strong, unique style of James Blunt and there isn’t any song on the album that stands out amongst other songs that the current pop radio is already offering.

Production & Mastering 9
Engagement 5
Content 5.5
Delivery 5
Continuity 4.5
Involvement 7
Post #283214
Posted 02 June 2017 18:55

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James Blunt – The Afterlove album review
Entertainment Focus
By Pip Ellwood-Hughes
June 1st, 2017

Unfairly singer-songwriter James Blunt has spent a lot of time being written off and mocked by the media since he enjoyed his breakthrough in 2004 with debut album Back to Bedlam. The huge success of that record (over 11 million and counting) opened up the floodgates for a backlash that would have ended many an artist. Blunt has concentrated on his music and defied the odds going on to have success with All the Lost Souls in 2007, Some Kind of Trouble in 2010 and Moon Landing in 2013. Now he’s back with fifth studio album The Afterlove, which was released earlier this year.

For the campaign around The Afterlove, Blunt has embraced his critics by putting his tongue firmly in his cheek and taking the piss out of himself. Leading up to the album’s release the star appeared in a series of self-deprecating adverts building on the reputation he’s built for being the King of responding to his detractors on Twitter (seriously if you don’t follow him, you really should!). Lead single Love Me Better reflects on the way Blunt has been treated in the media and was co-written by Ryan Tedder and Zach Skelton. The song retains Blunt’s essence but gives it a more rhythmic feel and a poppier sensibility.

Across the album Blunt has team up with some seriously big hitters. Ed Sheeran co-wrote the gentle ballad Make Me Better with Blunt and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, and he co-wrote the soaring Time Of Our Lives. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder had in a hand in several tracks and veteran songwriter and producer Steve Robson strips things back to basics on the acoustic-driven Someone Singing Along.

Bartender, the second track on the record, is one of the highlights. It features Blunt recounting a failing relationship that he attempts to put back together during a drunken encounter. Another highlight is the beat-laden Lose My Number, which incorporates an R&B feel that oddly works well. You wouldn’t necessarily put Blunt and R&B together but he pulls it off and it gives his sound a little more edge than we’ve heard before.

Elsewhere on the record layered vocals and a striking piano melody recalls Goodbye My Love on Don’t Give Me Those Eyes, California explores staccato electro-pop rhythms, and Heartbeat leans more towards folk than it does the poppier sound of much of the album.

Paradise ends the album on an optimistic note as Blunt sings about the power of love and following your heart. Lyrically it may not break new ground but in Blunt’s hands it’s an emotive and stirring end to the record.

The Afterlove is a progression for Blunt. He’s experimented with his sound without losing what makes him unique. Blunt may be musical marmite to some but I think he deserves way more credit than he ever gets. He’s a fine songwriter, a distinctive vocalist and a talented musician; The Afterlove is a perfect showcase for all of those qualities.

Post #283308
Posted 24 June 2017 20:03

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James Blunt Afterlove - Review
Tune Trippin', Issue 1, April 2017, p. 25 (Scottish music magazine)
By Andrew Scott

Everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure musician James Blunt has returned with his new album ‘The Afterlove.’ The British singer takes a risk and experiments to fit in with the mainstream music lover. Yet he does so in a way that isn’t selling his soul to the pop gods, he retains what’s made Blunt so listenable and likeable.

Recently, Blunt has gained his popularity through his hilarious Twitter replies to users giving him hate. But although he seems to have reinvented his image, his music has on the whole stayed pretty much the same.

His first song ‘Love Me Better’ sounds like a classic James Blunt number, sad and depressing. He even references his infamous hit ‘You’re Beautiful’: “Would’ve said you’re beautiful but I’ve used that line before.” But just when you think this is vintage Blunt, the chorus takes you by surprise. Blunt seems to have adopted a watered-down tropical house melody, which wouldn’t look out of place being played in The Garage in Glasgow. Suddenly you’re thinking is this really James Blunt?

But then reassuringly ‘Bartender’ returns to the Blunt sound we all know and secretly love. A depressed Blunt sings about drinking with an ex with ‘Bartender, can you pass some love?’ sensing poor Blunt isn’t having the best of times. But the song on the whole carries another catchy beat but one that still manages to remain upbeat throughout a sad song.

The new tropical house vibe continues in ‘Loose My Number’ another predictably sad song, which is about a paranoid James Blunt wondering why he’s being patched off his burd. “Everyone knows I’m jealous.” But another catchy beat makes the song instantly likeable.

An emotional piano number of ‘Don’t Give Me Those Eyes’ follows with Blunt longing for someone he can’t have. ‘Someone Singing Along’ see’s a return to his trusty guitar, this time with a hopeful song about finding love, surprisingly. Its Blunt at his best, with the piano and orchestra giving a great emotional effect to the single, it definitely tugs on the heart strings.

‘California boasts a deep prolonged intro with a continuous beat that lasts the song; it’s a different vibe. It catches you off guard just as it does with ‘Love Me Better’ but it not for the first time see’s Blunt experiment with a tune not known by him before. You can tell OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder is on production with a Maroon 5 esc song. However the return to the guitar in the latter of the single establishes it as another soppy number, a tribute to his love.

‘Time of Our Lives’ was co-written by chart sensation Ed Sheeran, but you wouldn’t know it. It’s a similar song to ‘Love Me Better’ but slightly more upbeat.

Same could be said for ‘Paradise’ with the reiterating theme seeming to be one of reminiscence but it’s the passionate mood that still makes it listenable.

Before Paradise however ‘Someone Singing Along’ is an instant toe tapper, in the song its as if he calls for strength and approval with the lyrics “even if some notes are wrong, I’m hoping someone’s singing along, cause just one voice is not enough, I need to hear from everyone.” A true Blunt song nonetheless.

But before you know it ‘Courtney’s Song’ brings you back to being sad and depressed in a song about his affection and his love for ‘Courtney’ and him letting go and accepting she will never be his.

‘2005’ is a song that references his well-known hit and the song that guarantees his legacy, ‘You’re Beautiful.’ The single references this “I’m not gonna lie, say it didn’t work out, because I live in a big house, made a few pounds.” But the song is about how he can’t eclipse it, and how he wishes he could.

The album finishes with single ‘Over’ which is another upbeat number, this time about a breakup. The song takes relatively laid-back approach to what should be a sad song, but it works.

If you look at the charts, ‘The Afterlove’ isn’t the most popular album by Blunt. Both ‘Back To Bedlam’, and ‘All The Lost Souls’ both got to number one in the charts. With then both spending a combined 11 weeks at the top spot. ‘Some Kind Of Trouble’ managed to reach the peak position of fourth, ‘Moon Landing’ reached second but ‘The Afterlove’ has only managed to peak at sixth in the charts.

However, the album is perfect if you’ve been a James Blunt fan through the years, it maintains the rainy day, depressing and romantic mood that fans have become accustomed to throughout the years. Blunt will forever be known for ‘You’re Beautiful’ as he peaked early in his musical career. But ‘The Afterlove’ is a brave attempt to gain relevance in 2017. Blunt has experimented and taken himself out of his comfort zone, and it has produced some spectacular results with some catchy songs, ones that new listeners could get addicted to. It also maintains the DNA that he has become known for in his albums. The ‘Afterlove’ signifies a new James Blunt, one that is more than capable to stake his claim in the world of ever changing modern music.

Post #283537
Posted 20 August 2017 16:00

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Note: The Signal is an award-winning, student-run and student-produced weekly newspaper established in 1885, Ewing, NJ (USA).


Blunt steps outside his comfort zone on 'The Afterlove'
The Signal, April 3, 2017
By Elizabeth Zakaim, Reviews Editor

Most of us probably haven't heard from James Blunt since his widely received single "You're Beautiful" back in 2004, which people either loved or couldn't stand.

While his voice hasn't grown that much since that song and other hits like "Bonfire Heart" and "Goodbye My Lover," the release of his new album, "The Afterlove," on March 24 was not as painful to listen to as I thought it would be.

Blunt steps out of his comfort zone in an attempt to serenade us with a more bubble-gum pop sound that, while not perfectly suitable for his voice, does let you explore a side to Blunt you'd never think you'd see.Blunt melds his own sound with modern pop on 'The Afterlove.' (Flickr)

The album opens with "Love Me Better," a sassy comeback song about how he's better than the people who have put him down. He even references his well-known classic in his lyrics, singing, "Saw you standing outside a bar/Would have said you're beautiful, but I've used that line before." It's a fresh sound ---- it's something confrontational and brave, which adds some dimensions to the singer's repertoire.

At the ripe old age of 43, Blunt makes himself a central heartthrob on the track "Bartender." The admittedly faster pace and more upbeat message surrounds Blunt's plea with the bartender to help him fall back in love with his sweetheart.

"Can you pour me some love?" he asks, which is reminiscent of Usher's theme in "DJ's Got Us Fallin' in Love" back in 2010. Two very different artists, yet Blunt may be channeling his inner Usher in an attempt to sing about the feverish club life he so desperately attempts to navigate through in the rather new age of EDM, Skrillex and technopop.

The mood, however, shifts again in "Time of our Lives," where a calmer, yet slightly autotuned Blunt reminisces on the early days of love, meeting his lover's parents for the first time and seeking their reluctant approval. The soft electric guitar gives the song a nostalgic feel, which goes a long way in painting the story of Blunt crooning to another girl about her beauty and how much he loves her.

"California," the sixth track on the album, is Blunt's most blunt attempt at entering into the impenetrable world of pop. The song is about living in the present, seizing the moment and not worrying about tomorrow ---- all long overused messages delivered to us from other artists with better breath support and more original lyrics.

Both "California" and "Lose My Number" sound too much like tired pop songs. The beat drags and Blunt swallows his words as he sings "California" almost as if he's less invested in the song than I am. A well-played synthesizer would have done both songs much good in terms of diversifying the sound and keeping both Blunt and his listeners awake throughout.

Blunt's album has reminded me that every artist must find their own voice, and I just wish he would work harder to find his niche instead of trying so hard to fit in where he musically doesn't belong.

It's true, I haven't heard from Blunt in years, but did I really want to? Despite all of his sharp "s's" and whiny falsetto notes, the singer, while perhaps better left in 2004, did inspire me with his triumphant new album. Blunt unintentionally reminded me of the importance of stepping out of my own comfort zone and that lesson alone makes it worth giving the album a try, if not a full listen.

Post #283965
Posted 22 August 2017 15:33

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So many back-handed compliments as if they are obligated to do so.

Excuse me, I would like to request an eye-rolling emoji, please. I think there is a great need for one.
Post #283982
Posted 10 January 2018 18:40

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I know it's kind of weird to post an album review at this point but it's even weirder to find one on an Australian Salvation Army website!


The Afterlove: James Blunt
29 JULY 2017


English singer-songwriter James Blunt burst onto the music scene in 2004 with hit singles You’re Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover, and his Back to Bedlam album became the UK’s highest-selling album of the 2000s.

With his emotion-charged voice, these beautiful, heartbreaking songs struck a chord and Blunt shot to stardom. But in the 13 years since this first offering, Blunt has found it tough to back it up.

Almost as recognition of his ongoing blandness, he has sought out a host of writing collaborators for his latest (fifth) album, The Afterlove, including the likes of Ed Sheeran. But Blunt again misses the mark in trying to find that elusive Top 40 success.

The album tries to take a more modernised direction, leaning much more towards pop, house and dance music than previous albums. The best songs on the album are once again those his voice is best suited to – ballads.

Unfortunately the ballads on this album don’t come close to his 2004 classics. Don’t Give Me Those Eyes sounds delicate (but is about an illicit affair), and Courtney’s Song tells of his heartache over being dumped. The single Love Me Better and the track Make Me Better carry similar sentiments to each other, and echo the Christian message that being loved and cared about makes life a whole lot better. Red flags include minimal coarse language and mild sexual references.

This isn’t a bad album – there are some likeable tracks – it just isn’t a great one, unless you’re an avid Blunt fan. It makes me wonder whether it may be time for James to hang up the microphone. There’s nothing wrong with being a two-hit wonder when you’ve sold as many albums as he has.

The Afterlove is available on iTunes for $14.99.

Captain Colin Lane is the Corps Officer at Frankston Corps, Victoria.

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