“Everything’s rose.”

Well, nearly two months later, I can finally say that I’m fully recovered from James Blake’s latest album release. Assume Form cut deep; it felt like he’d found and published the hidden contents of the locket necklace hanging around my neck. As a long time die hard James Blake fan, I noticed that this particular body of work distinguishes itself from the rest of his existing discography. Its themes and content are…dare I say…communicating a positive outlook? His music usually summons oppressively solemn memories with a grey background. His trance-inducing synthetic beats feel addictive, dizzying. When entrapping yourself to headphones, his music all too eerily takes the form of that persistent voice of ill ego inside the skull. In an interview Blake coyly submits, “I’ve subdued a generation. That will be my legacy.”

After letting my curiosity take the reigns of Google for a minute, I found the answer for why Assume Form seems to strike new emotional chords in the realm of intellectual sad boi edm. He fell in love.

James Blake doesn’t hold back—the lyricism and craftsmanship of this album are both a tender forehead kiss and a desperate shout into the void dedicated to the new, intoxicating gravitational forces that come with loving another.

 

On the consistent state of pleasant disbelief: Blake, James. “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow.” Assume Form. Polydor Ltd. (UK) 2019.

I can’t believe the way you showed everyone/Couldn’t they see what you could do for everyone/I know it took you a while to get to California/I had no idea I was waiting on you

I can’t believe the way we flow/I can’t believe the way we live together/I can’t believe the way we flow/I can’t believe the way we flow/I could have used you in the early days

Well, it’s been such a long, long, long, long time/With the music of my mind/Most of it seems unfinished now/I can’t believe the

I can’t believe the way we flow/I can’t believe the way we live together/I can’t believe the way we flow/I can’t believe the way we flow

Nothing makes a sound/When you’re not around/You are my fear of death/You wave my fear of self/And alone in the show/Despite what I was told/I’m finding I’m a smaller piece/Than I once thought/Oh, no, I really am/I really am

 

On the intensity of a trusting partnership: Blake, James. “Ill Come Too.” Assume Form. Polydor Ltd. (UK) 2019.

I’m gonna say what I need/If it’s the last thing I do/I do, I do, I do/I’m in that kind of mood/I’ve thrown my hat in the ring/I’ve got nothing to lose/With you, with you, with you/I’m in that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing/I’ll slot right in between the/Cracks between you and him/I don’t wanna go home/Shall we drive from zone to zone?/I wouldn’t do this on my own/But I’m not on my own tonight

Oh, you’re going to New York?/I’m going there/Why don’t I come with you?/Oh, you’ve changed to L.A.?/I’m going there, I can go there too

I’m gonna say what I need/If it’s the last thing I do/I do, I do, I do/I’m in that kind of mood/I’ve thrown my hat in the ring/I’ve got nothing to lose/With you, with you, with you/I’m in that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing/I’ll slot right in between the/Cracks between you and him/I don’t wanna go home/Shall we drive from zone to zone?/I wouldn’t do this on my own/But I’m not on my own tonight

Oh, you’re going to the brink?/I’m going there/Why don’t I come with you?/You don’t care what they think/I’m getting there/I could get there too

I’m gonna say what I need/If it’s the last thing I do/I do, I do, I do/I’m in that kind of mood/I’ve thrown my hat in the ring/I’ve got nothing to lose/With you, with you, with you/I’m in that kind of mood

I’ll go under your wing/I’ll slot right in between the/Cracks between you and him/I don’t wanna go home/Shall we drive from zone to zone?/I wouldn’t do this on my own/But I’m not on my own tonight

 

Let’s take some of Blake’s earlier works “Voyeur” and “The Wilhelm Scream” for brute comparison.

 

Blake, James. “Voyeur.” Overgrown. Polydor Ltd. (UK) 2013.

A voyeur is defined as a prying observer who is usually seeking the sordid or scandalous, deriving pleasure or gratification from looking at sexually provocative materials in secrecy. With that definition in mind, it’s hard to not be in fight or flight mode amidst the carefully engineered sounds of attenuated sirens in the song.

I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me

‘Cause I am flawed/When I am through those doors/‘Cause I am flawed/Times unsure

I should do whatever will make you feel secure

I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me/I don’t mind, it was all me

 

Blake, James. “The Wilhelm Scream.” James Blake. Polydor Ltd. (UK) 2019.

The wilhelm scream is a popular stock sound effect that’s been used in 389 films and counting. It’s usually employed when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion. A truly intentional and unapologetic artistic choice, especially in the context of the lyrics.

I don’t know about my dreams/I don’t know about my dreamin’ anymore/All that I know is/I’m falling, falling, falling, falling.

Might as well fall in.

I don’t know about my love/I don’t know about my loving anymore/All that I know is/I’m falling, falling, falling, falling.

Might as well fall in.

 

I can’t help but ruminate over the drastic shift that’s happened from his first EP to now. It seems that James Blake has found a pair of rose-colored glasses, and I can’t help but sit here and wonder where mine are.

 

(Image credit: Google images)

ansenkow

Self-regarded as the female counterpart of Amory Blaine (iykyk), Annelise is a dual-degree student in LSA and SMTD pursuing Dance and Microbiology, while on a pre-medical track.

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1 Comment on "“Everything’s rose.”"


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Sophia
5 months 3 days ago

Lovely review with such an accurate description that’s helped me find the words to describe this album. I often times reflect on this album and am still overwhelmed by it, in a good way. I was able to see James Blake in concert when he performed in Royal Oak, MI last month — it was amazing!