808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 17. Back To Bedlam – James Blunt

Back_To_BedlamBack To Bedlam – James Blunt – 2004

First listen?: Yes

Completing the boring trinity of this list, Dido and David Gray if you aren’t keeping track, we have James Blunt. I’ve never managed to hide how I feel about certain artists, Blunt being one of them. It’s easy to see why people would be bored of someone like James Blunt, he’s the blueprint for a Simon Cowell ‘success story’. The ‘soldier with the beautiful voice’ story was all you heard throughout his promo in 2005, the typical lead in to one of the millions of plays the big hit would have received on UK radio that year. Said big hit is of course You’re Beautiful, a sickly sweet ballad that manages to sound heartfelt and creepy at the same time. Everyone reading this knows the song, it was a radio smash that never seemed to go away. With follow up single Goodbye My Lover being along the same lines, my hopes weren’t high to enjoy the full Back To Bedlam album. Things get a bit more Coldplay on Out Of My Mind, while opener High takes this to a new extreme; it could easily have appeared on Parachutes. It’s probably the best track here, the rest just plods along being ‘nice’. I probably complain a bit too much about ‘nice’ music, saying that it’s boring or tedious, but sometimes ‘nice’ just isn’t enough. There’s glimmers of some talent in here, the emotion heard in Goodbye My Lover for instance, but it never quite pans out how I wanted it to. Blunt’s voice is just slightly too distinctive to make this work as a relaxing background album, something Dido and David Gray have in their favour, instead it just isn’t as easy of a listen as it should be. I’ve never been a big fan of James Blunt and while I appreciate that lots of people are, he wouldn’t be close to the top 20 otherwise, he’s just not for me.

Rating: 5/10

Will I listen again?: No

Best Track: High

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