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James Blake|Friends That Break Your Heart

Friends That Break Your Heart

James Blake

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James Blake is a master of contrasts and restraint—understanding that too much of a good thing can knock people over. The good thing in question, of course, is his marvel of a voice, which effortlessly sails from its rich natural baritone to a songbird-in-the-cloud falsetto. It can match the high drama of an opera star and sometimes you get the feeling that, if used for evil, it could wipe out a landscape. So on his fifth album's opener "Famous Last Words," an aural cocoon of gently pulsing R&B with gospel flourishes, the strings and piano drop out periodically so as not to suck up all the oxygen. (It's like the musical equivalent of Coco Chanel's adage: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.") "Coming Back" sways with lush piano and Blake's high-frequency "So I take it all! Take it all! Take it all back," before SZA slinks in and brings a cool, crisp edge—like a knife through full-fat butter. Love song "I'm So Blessed You're Mine" balances between The Voice singing alongside low-key instrumentation and ghostly "whoo"-ing over a busy hip-hop beat, sweeping strings and deep bass. Sometimes Blake ducks out all together—letting rappers Swavay and JID take over whole chunks of the strikingly spooky "Frozen." Soulful singer Monica Martin features on moody "Show Me," with Blake's baritone wearily intoning "I heard you had a sweet way..." before ascending to deliver the kicker: "That I've yet to see." Finger-snapping "Foot Forward" covers smooth piano R&B; "Life Is Not the Same" mixes a jazz mood, a low-key trap beat and a melody that recalls Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" era, Blake's voices wavering and quivering and sustaining like some hypnotizing force. But the scene-stealer here—indeed, one of the most stunning tracks Blake has ever recorded—is "Say What You Will," a collaboration with singer-songwriter Finneas (best known as Billie Eilish's brother and producer). World-weary and clever, it uses melancholy strings, choir-boy sighs and an ethereal melody to build a tastefully lush bed. "I look okay in the magic hour/ In the right light with the right amount of power," Blake sings. "I might not make all those psychopaths proud/ At least I can see the facеs of the smaller crowds." He has said: "The song is about finding peace with who you are and where you're at regardless of how well other people seem to be doing." Considering he's a favorite of Kanye West, has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and has made a stellar album, it's unclear who he even has to be envious of at this point. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Friends That Break Your Heart

James Blake

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1
Famous Last Words
00:04:16

James Blake, Producer, Mixer, String Arranger, Keyboards, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Additional Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

2
Life Is Not The Same
00:03:19

James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Khushi, Producer, Additional Producer - Denzel Michael-Akil Baptiste, ComposerLyricist - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Take A Daytrip, Producer, Mixer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - David Charles Marshall Biral, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

3
Coming Back Explicit
00:03:15

Hal Ritson, Guitar, Piano, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Elmhirst, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Adlam, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - James Blake, Producer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Dominic Maker, Vocals, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - SZA, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Khushi, Producer, Additional Producer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brittany Hazzard, ComposerLyricist - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Brad Bustamante, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Matt Scatchell, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Co-Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

4
Funeral
00:02:35

James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Khushi, Producer, Additional Producer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

5
Frozen Explicit
00:03:56

Andre Jones, ComposerLyricist - James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Destin Route, ComposerLyricist - Swavay, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - JID, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

6
I'm So Blessed You're Mine
00:03:15

James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Keyboards, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Drum Programming, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Dominic Maker, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Khushi, Producer, Co-Producer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Josh Stadlen, Producer, Additional Producer - Carl Bespolka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Kalim Graham Patel, ComposerLyricist - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

7
Foot Forward
00:02:33

Ali Tamposi, ComposerLyricist - Barry Mann, ComposerLyricist - Dan Hill, ComposerLyricist - James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Frank Dukes, Producer - Leland Wayne, ComposerLyricist - Metro Boomin, Producer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tristan Hoogland, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Additional Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

8
Show Me
00:03:38

Tom Elmhirst, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake, Producer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Monica Martin, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Khushi, Producer, Additional Producer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Matt Scatchell, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Co-Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

9
Say What You Will
00:04:40

James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Josh Stadlen, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

10
Lost Angel Nights
00:03:59

Ali Tamposi, ComposerLyricist - James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Khushi, Producer, Additional Producer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Carl Bespolka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Dom Maker, Producer, Additional Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

11
Friends That Break Your Heart
00:03:21

Rick Nowels, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Mellotron, Rhodes , AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dean Reid, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake, Producer, Vocals, Synth Bass, Synthesizer, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - John Christopher Fee, Engineer, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

12
If I'm Insecure
00:04:55

Nico Muhly, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Blake, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Randy Merrill, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Blake Litherland, ComposerLyricist - Nathan Schram, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Tyler Arnold, A&R - Jameela Jamil, Producer, Additional Producer - Bryan Montesano, A&R Coordinator

℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

Album Description

James Blake is a master of contrasts and restraint—understanding that too much of a good thing can knock people over. The good thing in question, of course, is his marvel of a voice, which effortlessly sails from its rich natural baritone to a songbird-in-the-cloud falsetto. It can match the high drama of an opera star and sometimes you get the feeling that, if used for evil, it could wipe out a landscape. So on his fifth album's opener "Famous Last Words," an aural cocoon of gently pulsing R&B with gospel flourishes, the strings and piano drop out periodically so as not to suck up all the oxygen. (It's like the musical equivalent of Coco Chanel's adage: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.") "Coming Back" sways with lush piano and Blake's high-frequency "So I take it all! Take it all! Take it all back," before SZA slinks in and brings a cool, crisp edge—like a knife through full-fat butter. Love song "I'm So Blessed You're Mine" balances between The Voice singing alongside low-key instrumentation and ghostly "whoo"-ing over a busy hip-hop beat, sweeping strings and deep bass. Sometimes Blake ducks out all together—letting rappers Swavay and JID take over whole chunks of the strikingly spooky "Frozen." Soulful singer Monica Martin features on moody "Show Me," with Blake's baritone wearily intoning "I heard you had a sweet way..." before ascending to deliver the kicker: "That I've yet to see." Finger-snapping "Foot Forward" covers smooth piano R&B; "Life Is Not the Same" mixes a jazz mood, a low-key trap beat and a melody that recalls Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" era, Blake's voices wavering and quivering and sustaining like some hypnotizing force. But the scene-stealer here—indeed, one of the most stunning tracks Blake has ever recorded—is "Say What You Will," a collaboration with singer-songwriter Finneas (best known as Billie Eilish's brother and producer). World-weary and clever, it uses melancholy strings, choir-boy sighs and an ethereal melody to build a tastefully lush bed. "I look okay in the magic hour/ In the right light with the right amount of power," Blake sings. "I might not make all those psychopaths proud/ At least I can see the facеs of the smaller crowds." He has said: "The song is about finding peace with who you are and where you're at regardless of how well other people seem to be doing." Considering he's a favorite of Kanye West, has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and has made a stellar album, it's unclear who he even has to be envious of at this point. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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