As a piece of propaganda, James Blunt?s album Back to Bedlam does more for changing the face of the British Army than a series of television adverts ever could. Swapping a rifle for a guitar, the former cavalryman?s ballad... more »-heavy debut is a clearly aiming to win the battle for the public?s hearts and minds. The U.K. success of singles like "You?re Beautiful" and "No Bravery" (inspired by his time stationed in Bosnia) are both heartfelt and sensitive, the latter packing an additional emotional punch beyond the typical lovelorn ballads of his contemporaries like Damien Rice. But Blunt also sings with conviction about matters of the heart, and that?s the territory that most of Back to Bedlam visits, with songs of loss like "Goodbye My Lover", "So Long Jimmy" and "Billy". And throughout, the arrangements remain understated yet effective, thanks to the input of such heavyweight producers and songwriters like Linda Perry and Guy Chambers. All of which prove that there?s a lot of depth to this modern, musical hero. --Robert Burrow« less
As a piece of propaganda, James Blunt?s album Back to Bedlam does more for changing the face of the British Army than a series of television adverts ever could. Swapping a rifle for a guitar, the former cavalryman?s ballad-heavy debut is a clearly aiming to win the battle for the public?s hearts and minds. The U.K. success of singles like "You?re Beautiful" and "No Bravery" (inspired by his time stationed in Bosnia) are both heartfelt and sensitive, the latter packing an additional emotional punch beyond the typical lovelorn ballads of his contemporaries like Damien Rice. But Blunt also sings with conviction about matters of the heart, and that?s the territory that most of Back to Bedlam visits, with songs of loss like "Goodbye My Lover", "So Long Jimmy" and "Billy". And throughout, the arrangements remain understated yet effective, thanks to the input of such heavyweight producers and songwriters like Linda Perry and Guy Chambers. All of which prove that there?s a lot of depth to this modern, musical hero. --Robert Burrow
"OK, so those folks across the pond were in on this before most of us, but now that we've got it, wow are we lucky. This has to be near the top of my "Best of 2005" list because it's somehow different, perfectly produced and includes ten totally diverse songs that make this first effort quite amazing. Starting with "High" the opening song, and followed by the radio single, "You're Beautiful" and right through to the tenth song, "No Bravery", this CD is first rate. Only down side - the F word on the non-radio version of "You're Beautiful", which honestly works better using the word flying as the F word anyway. It's more natural and doesn't seem so forced. I use the F word, but frankly it just wasn't necessary here. Bought the Clean version of the CD after having the explicit copy..........suggest you do the same! James Blunt is the real thing!"
The "clean" version vs. "explicit"
Jasmine | 01/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Blunt is great. BUT if you want the version of You're Beautiful that is playing on the radio and MTV, get the clean version. In the explicit version, the phrase "flying high" is replaced with "fu**ing high." We made the mistake of getting the explicit version not realizing the explicit word was in You're Beautiful. Ruined the song for us so we sold it and bought the clean version. Not much different except for that song - but it was an important difference to us."
5 STARS ++++++
l z i e l | LOS ANGLES, CA | 05/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love James Blunt's music!!! My youngest sister found out about him last year when he's still barely known in the US. She told me she just heard this person with the most unique and wonderful voice. You must know that my sister is very hungry for new sound, she's tired of what's currently playing in the radio. After she heard JB, she searched him & found his video "You're Beautiful." She introduced me to JB's music & all 3 of us sisters got hooked. We were very fortunate to actually see him live in concert in Warfield, SF on April 6th, and I must confess that it was the time of our lives. We'were practically 2 feet away from him. We stood the whole concert for the whole 5 hours, plus the wait outside the venue, but we didn't mind :) Back to reviewing this CD...what can I say is just I LOVE every song. HIGH--is JB's way of describing how he felt watching the rising sun. According to JB, the inspiration came to him after staying late at night and witnessing the dawn. It's very uplifting.
YOU're BEAUTIFUL--I'm sure everybody knows about this by now. It's his first single & video in the US. The song is very simple, but very addicting. I don't know why. It may seem simple, but it's actually hard to sing to it. I love this song. WISEMEN--very fun & catchy song. I love the part, where he ask, "Where are you now?"
GOODBYE MY LOVER--according to JB, it is the most personal song for him. He recorded it in the bathroom of Carrie Fisher (Actress) in Los Angeles, where she actually keeps a grand piano. During his concert, he pours his heart when singing this song, and I got teary-eyed. I was overwhelmed by this song.
TEARS & RAIN--is my favorite! This is the song, which I can totally connect with James. To me it's about looking deep inside you, surveying your inner feelings & thoughts about life and the present time. My favorite lines are: "How I wish I could walk through the doors of my mind; Hold memory close at hand,Help me understand the years. How I wish I could choose between Heaven and Hell. How I wish I would save my soul.I'm so cold from fear. I guess it's time I run far, far away; find comfort in pain,All pleasure's the same: it just keeps me from trouble.Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray."
OUT OF MY MIND--is another catchy & fast song. love the lyrics: Judging by the look on the organ grinder, He'll judge me by the fact that my face don't fit. It's touching that the MONKEY sits on my shoulder. James using the "Monkey King" in his logo. There is a great story behind that monkey :p
SO LONG JIMMY--great lyrics & music. One of the highlight in JB's concert. He just love performing this song. What've heard this is dedicated to the famous JIMs Morrison & Hendrix. As you may know, James is also Jimmy. I guess James is trying to compare his humble self & songwriting skills to the famous JIMs.
BILLY--is about a prodigal son. According JB, he wrote this song for Billy, an irresponsible friend :) who owes him money and who's now in-charge of website: jamesblunt.com. Billy is really a coold guy!!
CRY--another favorite of mind. This song is just like talking to a friend while trying to help her open up and speak to you. It's about friendship & sharing during those dificult time.
NO BRAVERY--a very emotional song not just for James but to the listeners. This is based on his experience as a soldier in Kosovo war. In concert, he plays the piano with great intensity and variety of emotions. You can hear in the song what he's feeling...sadness, fear, fury, disappointment,etc. I can't forget James's eyes and face when he sang this, as if he's reliving the war again. It breaks my heart, but what a release!!!"
One word: AMAZING
L. BOWMAN | Bloomington, IL U.S. of A. | 03/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I'm on the clean version of this album because, I have a six year old (who will be seven soon) who listens to this CD in my car stereo. So, gotta keep it clean.
This CD is AMAZING. I've had this for a week now, and I really like it a lot. The songs on this album are simple yet AMAZING. The lyrics, melodies, and the harmony are just AMAZING. The words and music are quite heartfelt and would move you. This is actually a feel good album. If you want to feel good, take 20 mg of James Blunt and you'll feel good - guaranteed. This kind of album comes along RARELY, and that's what makes this album special. The songs are passionate such as the song, "Goodbye My Lover". The heartfelt and poignant song, "You're Beautiful", is exactly how I would feel when I see a beautiful woman somewhere, a woman that I'm very attracted to, and manage to have eye contact with her, and in that shared moment, it seems like it lasted a lifetime; and with that as in the video of this song, I've decided to end my life because, I've achieved fulfillment. Yes, I know, it sounds crazy.
James Blunt has been compared with a lot of fantastic artists, but here's my comparison. I compare him with the LEGENDS. In the songs, "Tears and Rain", and "Billy", James voice and music style here reminds me of Cat Stevens. I could imagine Cat singing these songs. In the song, "So Long, Jimmy", James voice and music style here reminds me of John Lennon. I could imagine John singing this song, too, and in the song, "Wisemen", James music style here reminds me of Elton John. James Blunt is the NEXT BIG THING to be watched and followed . I can't wait to hear his next album."