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José James|Love In A Time of Madness

Love In A Time of Madness

Jose James

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As he went into making his fourth Blue Note release, José James envisioned the follow-up to the Billie Holiday tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues as a double album. It was going to be split between love songs and outward-looking material inspired by persistent injustices and increasingly visible and frequent attacks upon persons of color in the U.S. At some point, James scrapped the second half of the concept, too distressed to see it through. In the liner notes for Love in a Time of Madness, he briefly addresses -- in pained but optimistic language -- the condition of his native country and the planet at large. James ends by asking, "What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?" Throughout, he and his collaborators approach answers to the second question by writing from various states of a one-on-one relationship. Seduction, euphoria, salvation, devotion, and distrust are among the moods in the mix. Due to the frequent presence of producer Antario "Tario" Holmes, the primary mode is commercial and contemporary R&B -- booming bass, burbling electronic FX, and other tricks of trap-style production, most prominently those snaking synthetic snares dragged as rapidly as flicked comb teeth. With rare exception, that approach to slow jams is for the sake of vocalists with a small fraction of the skill and life experience possessed by James. In these settings, his silken baritone is restricted, though the likes of the aching "Last Night," suitably closer to Miguel than to Bryson Tiller, and the candy-coated "Always There" (impossible to mistake for Ronnie Laws), are richer than the majority of mainstream radio playlist entries. Three collaborations with Mali Music are comparatively organic and traditionalist, dispersed across the album. Additionally, a throwback-to-throwback sequence of disco-funk numbers, also produced by Tario, provides an untroubled break in the middle. A sparse duet with Oleta Adams comes across like a bonus track transplanted from a different project, but it lets the listener out in a state of romantic contentment, the finishing touch on a uniquely bittersweet addition to the box of chocolates that is James' discography.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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Love In A Time of Madness

José James

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1
Always There
00:03:14

Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - A. Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Additional Vocals, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Antario "Tario" Holmes, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer - Zach Wilson, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

2
What Good Is Love
00:03:51

Andrew Lustman, ComposerLyricist - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Antario Dion Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Antario "Tario" Holmes, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer - Zach Wilson, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Samuel Wilson, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

3
Let It Fall
00:04:07

Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mali Music, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Kortney Pollard, ComposerLyricist - Solomon Dorsey, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Antario Dion Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Antario "Tario" Holmes, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

4
Last Night
00:03:44

Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Kortney Pollard, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Antario Dion Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Tario, Producer - Chelsea Lena, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

5
Remember Our Love
00:03:26

Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jesse Singer, Bass Guitar, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Christopher Soper, Electric Guitar, Organ, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Like Minds, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Likeminds, Producer - Jesse Samuel Singer, ComposerLyricist - Chris R. Soper, ComposerLyricist - Kourtney Pollard, ComposerLyricist - Talia P. Billig, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

6
Live Your Fantasy
00:03:34

Scott Jacoby, Keyboards, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Solomon Dorsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer - Jack Dine, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Samuel Wilson, ComposerLyricist - Talia P. Billig, ComposerLyricist - Ian Bakerman, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gisella Hiliman, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Scott Adam Jacoby, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

7
Ladies Man
00:03:08

Chris Johnson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - CHRIS BRUCE, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Philip Lassiter, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - A. Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Solomon Dorsey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer - Nathaniel "Nate" Smith, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Brandyn Phillips, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Danny Janklow, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Cerra, Baritone Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

8
To Be With You
00:04:22

Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mali Music, Producer, Drums, Keyboards, Percussion, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kortney Pollard, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Talia Billig, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

9
You Know I Know
00:03:26

Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jesse Singer, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Christopher Soper, Electric Guitar, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Likeminds, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

10
Breakthrough
00:04:43

Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jesse Singer, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Christopher Soper, Electric Guitar, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Anoop Desai, ComposerLyricist - Zach Wilson, ComposerLyricist - Likeminds, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jesse Samuel Singer, ComposerLyricist - Chris R. Soper, ComposerLyricist - Talia P. Billig, ComposerLyricist - Afika Numalo, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

11
Closer Explicit
00:03:31

Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - A. Holmes, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Keyboards, Additional Vocals, Drum Programming, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tario, Producer

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

12
I'm Yours
00:04:43

Pete Min, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Oleta Adams, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jose James, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Solomon Dorsey, ComposerLyricist - Antario Holmes, Mixer, Piano, Synthesizer Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Talia Billig, ComposerLyricist - Tario, Producer

℗ 2017 Blue Note Records

Album Description

As he went into making his fourth Blue Note release, José James envisioned the follow-up to the Billie Holiday tribute Yesterday I Had the Blues as a double album. It was going to be split between love songs and outward-looking material inspired by persistent injustices and increasingly visible and frequent attacks upon persons of color in the U.S. At some point, James scrapped the second half of the concept, too distressed to see it through. In the liner notes for Love in a Time of Madness, he briefly addresses -- in pained but optimistic language -- the condition of his native country and the planet at large. James ends by asking, "What is the value of human life? And of what value is love?" Throughout, he and his collaborators approach answers to the second question by writing from various states of a one-on-one relationship. Seduction, euphoria, salvation, devotion, and distrust are among the moods in the mix. Due to the frequent presence of producer Antario "Tario" Holmes, the primary mode is commercial and contemporary R&B -- booming bass, burbling electronic FX, and other tricks of trap-style production, most prominently those snaking synthetic snares dragged as rapidly as flicked comb teeth. With rare exception, that approach to slow jams is for the sake of vocalists with a small fraction of the skill and life experience possessed by James. In these settings, his silken baritone is restricted, though the likes of the aching "Last Night," suitably closer to Miguel than to Bryson Tiller, and the candy-coated "Always There" (impossible to mistake for Ronnie Laws), are richer than the majority of mainstream radio playlist entries. Three collaborations with Mali Music are comparatively organic and traditionalist, dispersed across the album. Additionally, a throwback-to-throwback sequence of disco-funk numbers, also produced by Tario, provides an untroubled break in the middle. A sparse duet with Oleta Adams comes across like a bonus track transplanted from a different project, but it lets the listener out in a state of romantic contentment, the finishing touch on a uniquely bittersweet addition to the box of chocolates that is James' discography.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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