James Blunt – All the Lost Souls
Atlantic Records (9/18/07)
Pop / Rock / Folk
I give this review with a bit of trepidation because, apparently I’m one of the few that actually liked this album—most other people are currently attacking not only Jame Blunt’s music and his talent but also his character. That made me realize that I needed to say my peace to appeal to those other hopeless romantics out there that have liked his music as much as I do, even if all I have to say to them is that All the Lost Souls is actually pretty good.
I’d been expecting the songs to evoke some passionate reaction that would generate some witty and insightful commentary for this review. That said, all that kept coming to mind, and all I keep telling people, is a plain and simple—this album is actually really good. And, I say it with a bit of surprise in my voice, because honestly, I expected it to be a somewhat sappy love fest.
All the Lost Souls is enjoyable from beginning to end, something that doesn’t happen often in this day in age of filler-laden releases. A lot of times the only good song on an album is the single that was released for radio play. This one has some solid songs, and it’s a very catchy folk-pop album with melodies that will remain in your head for days, and it’s chock full of guilty pleasures.
For instance, the simply titled “1973”, which is the first track on the album, and the first single to be in pretty heavy radio and video rotation, is a catchy tune about the memory of Saturday nights out with an old fling in 1973. This particular song is a bit cheesy (I didn’t think James Blunt was old enough to be clubbing back in 1973), but the slightly disco-esque pop beat is incredibly catchy, and you’ll be fighting to keep yourself from singing along. In some strange way, this song kind of reminds me of “Copacabana”, not necessarily for the cheese factor, but because it tells a story about someone named Simone whom he used to stay out with ’til the morning light every Saturday night. Like I said, this album is full of guilty pleasures…
“Give Me Some Love” is somewhat surprisingly edgy—the song begins with a sweet folk-pop sound, and then swells into a chorus that gripes, “Why don’t you give me some love? / I’ve taken a ship-load of drugs / I’m tired of never fixing the pain”. You can tell that he really wanted to say “shit-load of drugs”, but it’s probable that the record label wanted to keep the album PG to ensure they got the teenybopper and soccer-mom sales. This song is obviously a plea to those who mock him and his fame as he starts the song, “Me and my guitar play my way / It makes them frown / Mine is not a heart of stone / I am only skin and bone“. Other reviewers have said that James Blunt’s music was very phony. I think you can feel his angst during the chorus on this song as he’s obviously singing to those critics, and all of the others who have been giving him shit.
The song titled “I Really Want You” is reminiscent of last year’s mega-hit, “You’re Beautiful”, as he laments, “No matter what I say or do, the message isn’t getting through / And you’re listening to the sound of my breaking heart”. The beat pulses in the background throughout the song, as if to mimic the anxiety of a situation over which he obviously has no control and he cannot rectify, as he declares, “I really want you” over and over during the refrain. It’s a sweet song, though, that can actually bring a tear to your eye if you actually think about it too hard.
The poor guy seems to keep getting his heart broken, which always makes for some good song-writing action. Yes, the album is titled All the Lost Souls, and every song on the album has something to do with someone who has either lost their youth, their love, their faith, their passion for life, their chance at fame, etc. (without trying to seem edgy like all of those emo bands), but I think this is a really good sophomoric effort. James Blunt has a pretty folk-pop sound that should appeal to all of the hopeless romantics out there.