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James Blunt|The Afterlove

The Afterlove

James Blunt

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On his fifth full-length, The Afterlove, British singer James Blunt makes a risky shift in his sensitive-guy-with-a-guitar sound, opting for a taut collection that tugs at the heartstrings with polished pop sheen. The slight departure seems to be a conscious decision, as the confidently self-aware Blunt sings that he "would have said 'you're beautiful'/but I used that line before," referencing his inescapable 2005 smash single. Recruiting OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran on production, writing, and occasional backing vocals (the trio even joins forces on the pastoral "Time of Our Lives"), Blunt presents his most mainstream offering yet. Indeed, at certain points, his trademark wounded falsetto drifts into Adam Levine territory, turning songs like the soaring "Bartender," the pulsing "California," and the shimmering "Lose My Number" into the best Maroon 5 songs released in 2017. For longtime fans, these changes might be jarring. Even peppier tracks from the Mumford-esque Moon Landing -- take "Heart to Heart" for example -- had the distinct feeling that a band was at least somewhere in the vicinity during the recording sessions. And yet, Afterlove is not Blunt selling his soul to the pop gods. Standout "Don't Give Me Those Eyes" is Blunt's dramatic soft rock at its moving best, riding a pensive piano and orchestra to great emotional effect. The Sheeran-produced "Make Me Better" is genuine and sweet, while "Heartbeat" swells with urgency and drama. Earnest toe-tapper "Someone Singing Along" combines his past and present sounds with his affable personality most seamlessly, weaving guitar twang with a thumping heart as Blunt sings "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/and even when I'm dead and gone/I'm hoping someone's singing along." Even though he's calling for empathy and strength, his own dreams of the music outliving the man seep through the finer points of the big message. Although he's pretty much guaranteed that legacy with "You're Beautiful," Afterlove is a brave bid for contemporary relevance in 2017, a wonderful step outside his comfort zone that is more memorable and exciting than much of his output this decade.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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The Afterlove

James Blunt

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1
Love Me Better
James Blunt
00:03:38

Ryan Tedder, Producer, Electric Guitar, Programmer, Vocals, Writer - John Hanes, MixingEngineer - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Rich Rich, Engineer - Zach Skelton, Producer, Electric Guitar, Programmer, Writer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

2
Bartender
James Blunt
00:03:13

Teddy Geiger, Producer, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Charlie Paxson, Drums - Steph Jones, Writer - Ed Sheeran, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar - Danny Parker, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer - Madi Diaz, Backing Vocals - Mike Tuccillo, AdditionalEngineer - Joe Rubel, AdditionalEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

3
Lose My Number
James Blunt
00:03:28

Ryan Tedder, Producer, Electric Guitar, Programmer, Writer - John Hanes, MixingEngineer - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Rich Rich, Engineer - Zach Skelton, Producer, Electric Guitar, Programmer, Writer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

4
Don't Give Me Those Eyes
James Blunt
00:04:04

Stephan Moccio, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, Writer, Background Vocals - Paul Bushnell, Bass Guitar - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Aaron Sterling, Drums - MoZella, Writer - Jonathan Martin Berry, Guitar - Jay Paul Bicknell, Engineer, Keyboards - Kylen Deporter, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

5
Someone Singing Along
James Blunt
00:03:33

Steve Robson, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Writer, Programming - Luke Potashnick, Guitar - Karl Brazil, Drums - James Blunt, Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Tim Harries, Double Bass - Sam Miller, Engineer - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Craig Silvey, MixingEngineer - Sam Klempner, Programming - Emily Warren, Backing Vocals, Writer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

6
California
James Blunt
00:03:20

Stephan Moccio, Producer, Keyboards, Writer, Background Vocals, Drum Programmer - Paul Bushnell, Bass Guitar - John Hanes, MixingEngineer - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, Background Vocals, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - MoZella, Writer - Jonathan Martin Berry, Guitar - Jay Paul Bicknell, Engineer, Keyboards, Additional Production, Drum Programmer - Kylen Deporter, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

7
Make Me Better
James Blunt
00:03:52

Karl Brazil, Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals - Cenzo Townshend, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, Background Vocals, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - John Garrison, Bass Guitar, Piano, Background Vocals - Ed Sheeran, Producer, Guitar, Percussion, Writer, Background Vocals, Mellotron - Johnny McDaid, Writer - Will Hicks, Engineer, Background Vocals, Drum Programmer - Joe Rubel, Engineer, Drum Programmer - Archie Carter, AssistantEngineer - Robert Sellens, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

8
Time of Our Lives
James Blunt
00:04:30

Ryan Tedder, Producer, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Writer, Programming - Serban Ghenea, MixingEngineer - James Blunt, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Ed Sheeran, Writer - Rich Rich, Engineer - Andrew DeRoberts, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Programming

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

9
Heartbeat
James Blunt
00:03:21

Steve Robson, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Writer - Luke Potashnick, Guitar - Karl Brazil, Drums - Ian Burdge, Cello - James Blunt, Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Sam Miller, Engineer - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Craig Silvey, MixingEngineer - Dewain Whitmore, Backing Vocals, Writer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

10
Paradise
James Blunt
00:03:32

Glen Scott, Organ, Piano - Luke Potashnick, Electric Guitar - Karl Brazil, Drums - Martin Terefe, Producer, Electric Guitar - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - TONY MASERATI, MixingEngineer - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - John Garrison, Bass Guitar - Oskar Winberg, Engineer - Amy Wadge, Backing Vocals, Writer - Florian Reutter, Keyboards, Programming - Emil Romer, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

11
Courtney's Song
James Blunt
00:04:26

Luke Potashnick, Electric Guitar - Martin Terefe, Producer, Bass Guitar - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - TONY MASERATI, MixingEngineer - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Kristoffer Sonne, Drums - Johnny McDaid, Keyboards, Organ, Writer - Oskar Winberg, Engineer - Chris Pemberton, Piano - Emil Romer, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

12
2005
James Blunt
00:04:05

Steve Mac, Writer - Luke Potashnick, Acoustic Guitar - Karl Brazil, Drums - Martin Terefe, Producer, Bass Guitar, Piano - DAVID DAVIDSON, String Arranger, Violin - David Angell, Violin - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - TONY MASERATI, MixingEngineer - Stuart Hawkes, MasteringEngineer - Monisa Angell, Viola - Carol Rabinowitz, Cello - Bobby Shin, Engineer - Oskar Winberg, Engineer - Amy Wadge, Writer - Florian Reutter, Keyboards, Programming - Chris Pemberton, Piano, Wurlitzer - Emil Romer, AssistantEngineer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

13
Over
James Blunt
00:04:16

Luke Potashnick, Acoustic Guitar - Karl Brazil, Drums - Martin Terefe, Producer, Bass Guitar, Piano - DAVID DAVIDSON, String Arranger, Violin - David Angell, Violin - James Blunt, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - TONY MASERATI, MixingEngineer - Monisa Angell, Viola - Carol Rabinowitz, Cello - Bobby Shin, Audio Recording Engineer - Danny Parker, Writer - Oskar Winberg, Engineer - Florian Reutter, Keyboards, Programmer - Chris Pemberton, Piano, Wurlitzer - Emil Romer, AssistantEngineer - John Geiger II, Writer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company

14
OK (feat. James Blunt)
Robin Schulz
00:03:10

Steve Mac, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Keyboards, Programmer, Writer - Chris Laws, Engineer - James Blunt, Composer, Lyricist, Writer, FeaturedArtist - John Paricelli, Guitar - MoZella, Writer - Guido Kramer, Keyboards - Dennis Bierbrodt, Keyboards - Junkx, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Programmer - Jurgen Dohr, Keyboards - Robin Schulz, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Keyboards, Programmer, Writer, MainArtist - Dan Pursey, Engineer - Karl Peter Brazil, Drums - Maureen Mozella McDonald, Composer, Lyricist - JUNXK, Programmer

© 2017 Atlantic Records UK, a Warner Music Group company. ℗ 2017 TONSPIEL / Warner Music Group Germany Holding GmbH / A Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

On his fifth full-length, The Afterlove, British singer James Blunt makes a risky shift in his sensitive-guy-with-a-guitar sound, opting for a taut collection that tugs at the heartstrings with polished pop sheen. The slight departure seems to be a conscious decision, as the confidently self-aware Blunt sings that he "would have said 'you're beautiful'/but I used that line before," referencing his inescapable 2005 smash single. Recruiting OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran on production, writing, and occasional backing vocals (the trio even joins forces on the pastoral "Time of Our Lives"), Blunt presents his most mainstream offering yet. Indeed, at certain points, his trademark wounded falsetto drifts into Adam Levine territory, turning songs like the soaring "Bartender," the pulsing "California," and the shimmering "Lose My Number" into the best Maroon 5 songs released in 2017. For longtime fans, these changes might be jarring. Even peppier tracks from the Mumford-esque Moon Landing -- take "Heart to Heart" for example -- had the distinct feeling that a band was at least somewhere in the vicinity during the recording sessions. And yet, Afterlove is not Blunt selling his soul to the pop gods. Standout "Don't Give Me Those Eyes" is Blunt's dramatic soft rock at its moving best, riding a pensive piano and orchestra to great emotional effect. The Sheeran-produced "Make Me Better" is genuine and sweet, while "Heartbeat" swells with urgency and drama. Earnest toe-tapper "Someone Singing Along" combines his past and present sounds with his affable personality most seamlessly, weaving guitar twang with a thumping heart as Blunt sings "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/and even when I'm dead and gone/I'm hoping someone's singing along." Even though he's calling for empathy and strength, his own dreams of the music outliving the man seep through the finer points of the big message. Although he's pretty much guaranteed that legacy with "You're Beautiful," Afterlove is a brave bid for contemporary relevance in 2017, a wonderful step outside his comfort zone that is more memorable and exciting than much of his output this decade.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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