Single Review: James Blake – Famous Last Words
Online music editor Tom Bosher reviews James Blake’s third single for his upcoming album Friends That Break Your Heart.
James Blake’s singles for his upcoming album Friends That Break Your Heart have so far totally blown me away, and ‘Famous Last Words‘ is no different. Whilst at first a jarring extra terrestrial and staccato panned synth pattern commences the track, it swiftly submerges you into a familiar zone of surreal that Blake loves to inhabit. The EQd swimming-pool-esque drums solidify this sense of submersion, an oppressive pressure, as Blake “can’t believe [he’s] still talkin’ about you”.
This post-breakup song really seeks to choke-grip your ears, as the initial verse instrumentation reaches the point of sonic asphyxiation, the soundscape widens out with Blake’s staple acapella vocals for a chorus that feels like the seedlings of a therapeutic release, a letting go. But we’re denied it.
it hits as peak Blake always hits. Hard.
So we return to the verse instrumentation for further lyrical clarification, as Blake berates himself for still being stuck on this past relationship. The following bridge facilitates a climax, as synth strings begin to pull us up, as regret is merged into a liberating crescendo.
The first “ooh” of the final chorus hits as peak Blake always hits. Hard. A unified body of strings and vocals swell poignantly. Impeccable production is undeniably this mans game, helped out by Dominic Maker, other half of Mount Kimble. This final chorus confirms the instrumental transition of the song, as the initial fragmented synth has transformed into a more continuous flow. This, so that even when he playfully strips back the flourishing strings to the previous synth to finalise the track, we feel a sense of acceptance with the way things are, which is all we can really hope for after any breakup.
I can’t wait for this album.