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James Blake

by James Blake

Released February 4, 2011 via ATLAS / A&M Records

Reviewed February 4, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
The Wilhelm Scream (60%), I Never Learnt To Share (47%), Unluck (40%)

James Blake’s breakthrough eponymous album, which took him from a faceless dubstep DJ to the triple threat we know him as today, revolutionized both pop and electronic music. Blake steps out of his comfort zone on this record, employing his now well-known self-sampling skills, all the while making post-dubstep with elements of rock, soul, and experimental music. It does get repetitive at time, but frankly, that’s part of the appeal. The album’s minimalism and avant-garde nature are critical factors in Blake’s ability to pull off such an isolated, depressive mood. James Blake was an innovative gem that still manages to sound futuristic ten years later. – Alan (8.6/10)

James Blake creates the type of music that's generally more interesting in thought, rather than execution. A lack of consistency pulls his self-titled release down in quality, but the cohesion of James Blake’s sound and feel ties everything together nicely. Blake's liquified sense of pop and its artistic possibilities—glitchy vocals, off-kilter rhythms and an unusual approach to instrumentation—are in flux, seamlessly flowing. There's nothing on this album that hasn't been done before, but Blake's personal twist is what makes James Blake unique and somewhat daring; it flourishes with an etiquette hard to find elsewhere. Soulfully sweet and electronically eloquent James Blake feels fresh in a familiar sense, as pop usually does when it's at its best. – Peter (7.5/10)

This self-titled effort was certainly ahead of its time given its stylistic blending and “post-genre” appeal; traits that would become exceedingly more prominent in the decade to follow. James Blake’s knack for presenting electronic-based music in an avant-garde setting is applaudable, but also feels quite incomplete. As IDM beats, gentle pianos, beaming synths, and a sea of enhanced vocal strands blur around you, there is little to tether them all together or make sense of. It sounds proto for a reason. It has the bold ideas, but not the wherewithal to channel them into a fully accomplished body of work. Perhaps fans of rougher, messier experimentation will cherish the disparate beauty of this record, but those looking for a more harnessed and wholesome final product may not be satisfied. – Enth (6/10)

Cam: 9/10 | Alan: 8.6/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Hadley: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10

Pax: 8/10 | Peter: 7.5/10 | Dominick: 7/10 | Enth: 7/10


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