James Blake

Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
Buy On
  1. Mar 22, 2011
    60
    The rest of the tracks are more like exercises in sound manipulation and reduction than songs. The approach is no-fault, but Blake pares it down to such an extent that the material occasionally sounds not just tentative but feeble, fatigued, even.
  2. Ultimately Blake isn't yet the singer-songwriter to pull this album off.
  3. Feb 8, 2011
    50
    Boldness, you realise, is not the same thing as greatness, and James Blake is not a great album. It has great moments, some of which hint at possible directions after the dust has settled around this release.
  4. Mar 1, 2011
    60
    The highs are notable. The problem is, Blake has put himself in a tight box, and when he strays out of it the material wavers [...]
  5. Feb 16, 2011
    40
    Blake's songs are built around a single typically melancholic lyric and melody that he works over, kind of like an R&B singer, while gradually switching stylistic gears.
  6. Mar 17, 2011
    40
    It's perfect for getting some shut-eye, but the boy wonder bores when cast upon alert ears.
  7. 60
    [There are] some decent moments on this debut album.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 143 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Feb 9, 2011
    10
    A truly brilliant album. Blake has taken the most distinctive elements of dubstep, stripped them down to their most minimal core, and infusedA truly brilliant album. Blake has taken the most distinctive elements of dubstep, stripped them down to their most minimal core, and infused the result with a soulfulness rarely found in contemporary music. It's beyond words and beyond anything anyone has done, and is undoubtedly the best album of 2011. Full Review »
  2. Feb 19, 2011
    10
    What a brilliant album. The vocals are mature, subtle, toned down, patient. James Blake has really come into his own with this. AbsolutelyWhat a brilliant album. The vocals are mature, subtle, toned down, patient. James Blake has really come into his own with this. Absolutely ground breaking. Full Review »
  3. Apr 3, 2011
    9
    It's ironic that the first full length release from an artist now seen by some as the poster boy of dubstep actually bears very littleIt's ironic that the first full length release from an artist now seen by some as the poster boy of dubstep actually bears very little resemblance to dubstep at all. Rather than the distorted bass usually associated with the genre, Blake seeps his album in an isolated minimalism, fusing elements of soul with icy electronics. The lingering pauses in some of the more introverted songs would grow frustrating if they didn't work so well, as this is an album that exudes loneliness, the theme even extending to the lyrics which are often built from one ambiguous line (Why Don't You Call Me, I Never Learnt to Share). While the uncompromising nature of the record may deter some, in reality this merely focuses attention on the mournful seclusion that serves as the foundation for the album's soundscapes. With such a restricted palette, it's difficult to see how Blake will be able to progress and still retain the uniqueness, but as seen with the sheer level of focus found on this album, he's already broken more ground in one release than some artists could hope to in an entire career. Full Review »