James Blake - Assume Form

The perfect emotional balance is reached with James Blake’s new studio album, Assume Form. With James Blake’s latest installment, he features an interesting mix of features. There is a rare André 3000 feature followed with features from Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Moses Sumney, and Rosalía. There was a lot of excitement upon this release!    His last full-length project ‘The Colour in Anything’, was released in 2016 so you could see why the anticipation was at an all time high. 

So James Blake’s music career is an interesting one. Did y’all know at one point this man was a dubstep DJ? His signature was his kinetic drums and wild fractured rhythms. He didn’t stick around though for the peak years of dub step though. Anyways after that phase, with his first debut artist he was viewed as pop artist who became the “hook maker” as a featured artist or writer for today’s biggest stars such as Frank Ocean and Post Malone. James hooks and lyrics seemed to display loneliness. Well, on ‘Assume Form’  he expresses a kind of cautious happiness for the first time. And yes, he could be happy due to him now dating Jameela Jamil. 

I personally loved how this album started off. “Assume Form” was an amazing intro track. It set the focus and mood for the whole album. In the opening verse, James sings’ “Now I’m confiding, know I’m in haze. Gone through the motions my whole life.I hope this is the first day..That I connect motion to feeling. We spin slowly, we spin slowly ’til morning.” “Mile High,” which features Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, is about joining the mile high club basically. The opening track, “Mile High” and “Tell them” had really enjoyable production! Metro and Travis did a great job and their contributions helped create quality tracks with REAL replay value.

‘Assume Form’ is full of insight. Blake lingers over  the anxieties of new relationships. On “Are You in Love, ” he asks that question, but doesn’t allow any time for a response before begging you to “Do your best impression for me.” In an interview with iTunes he spoke about this track.

“I like the idea of that moment where neither of you know whether you’re in love yet, but there’s this need for someone to just say they are: ‘Give me assurance that this is good and that we’re good, and that you’re in love with me. I’m in love with you.’ The words might mean more in that moment, but that’s not necessarily gonna make it okay.”

On the Andre 3000 featured track, “Where’s the Catch,” focuses in on that jittery anxious feeling one feels as they await for a good thing to go bad. The approach James took on this album works. He battles with sweetness/happiness, always ready to balance it out  doubt or bitterness. This restraint pays off on the big, romantic numbers, especially “Barefoot in the Park” featuring Rosalia.

The album did die a little at the end as I felt that “Don’t Miss It” and “Lullaby for My Insomniac” were low energy tracks. Even with an underwhelming close, ‘Assume Form’ was a solid body of work by James Blake! Blake is a true and pure songwriter and one of the most original of this generation. It’s safe to say this was Blake’s most focused project to date! 

Rating: 9.2/10


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