To aptly describe James Blunts music in his debut album Back to Bedlam, it would be an injustice to ignore the backdrop of his past and its relation to his music in fact its impossible to do so. Hauntingly captivating, his words paint the pictures of many stories lived, masterly recited through his songs. Back to Bedlam seems not so much a pop compilation as it does a reflection of a life through the art of music.
I have seen birth. I have seen death. Lived to see a lover's final breath.
Most artists, and certainly the best of them, thread their experiences into the music we hear. What makes James Blunt unique is that his experiences are so much more than the typical lust, love and love lost. Although those are apparent themes as well, there is a much deeper and conspicuously seductive, darker undertone throughout the album. When he sings, I have seen peace. I have seen pain in No Bravery, you feel the sincerity of his words even without knowing he served as a Lieutenant, commanding the lead of thirty thousand troops in war. And lest I mislead you into thinking the poetry here is simplistic, how many artists can make the comparison between themselves and Dorian Gray?
Sweetly singing o'er the plain
Blunts voice is unique and captivating, a perfect complement to the stories woven into his songs. The opening piece High, an understated love song, sets the tone of the album's sound subtle and melodic. Blunt then takes us on a ride of emotions, (sometimes seemingly in an induced altered state of mind), from radiant infatuation and youthful ebullience in Youre Beautiful to sincere introspection and candid reflection in Tears and Rain. The album ends brilliantly with No Bravery, a perfect culmination of a heartfelt album.
This is not the typical pop album. Back to Bedlam is a true piece of art showcasing the talents of a rising star. James Blunt leaves no doubt that this is the beginning of a very bright future. Not many artists can create albums that are, in one instance, infectiously hypnotic and, in another, intensely introspective and relevant. The album is full of great songs, the type that will emblaze their lyrics on your unsuspecting mind and have you singing along unconsciously to their melodic tunes, or have you seriously contemplate life, your own, and that of the world at large. Back to Bedlam was an introduction to James Blunt, a successful courtship between an artist and his audience. I look forward to the honeymoon.