James Blake - James Blake
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 117 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 117

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  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 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.
  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. Absolutely ground breaking.
  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 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. Expand
  4. Feb 9, 2011
    4
    This album was over hyped and is now overrated. Its not really a bad album just completely boring. I will agree with everyone and say that the production is great but that's it. The autotune really doesn't do anything for me and in most cases it makes the songs worse. This album is really nothing more than slowed down Dubstep with heavy R&B influences. On "The Wilhelm Scream" I swear he even sounds like Aaron Nevil. Its not surprising that the best song on the album is the cover of Feist's "Limit to your Love", but even on the best track Blake had to add in weird pauses that really disrupt the flow of the song. Like I said before over hyped and overrated. Just a splattering of experimental music done in a minimalistic style. Nothing overly special. Expand
  5. Jun 30, 2011
    10
    Immaculate, affecting, addictive. James Blake takes the cake. I Never Learnt to Share is perfect. Lindesfarne II is gourgeous. I'm not sure if the album is greater than the sum of its parts because I can't count that high.
  6. Mar 4, 2011
    6
    There's an overriding impression that Blake is trying desperately hard to create an album of sonic originality, but textured calculations, modernist machine beats and vocoders can't replace traditional songwriting, of which there's simply not enough of on this debut
  7. Jun 2, 2011
    10
    This has been the surprise of the year for me. I'll be honest, I heard the album and then the EPs...I still haven't really gotten into the EPs but the album is flawless. It is perfectly simple and its minimalist elements turn out to be its strongest selling points. Stand out tracks to me are "The Wilhelm Scream," "I Never Learnt to Share," "Lindisfare," "Limit to Your Love," and "Why Don't You Call Me." As you see by so many highlights, this album is awesome. The other tracks are great as well but there are my favorites. Expand
  8. MGP
    Jul 7, 2011
    10
    I love his album. And also his releases with Hemlock. His music sounds deep, making my soul vibrate. I wasn't interesting in electronic music before I listened to him. Now I'm crazy about it!
  9. Feb 10, 2011
    8
    This album really bares no relation to dubstep. I'd call it post-millennial R&B. It's brilliant, experimental, exploring the use of silence as a rhythm tool. The last section of "I never learnt to share" is probably the filthiest beat I've heard in the last year. The fact that this is a 22-year old kid puts us into Aphex Twin territory.
  10. Mar 27, 2011
    7
    James Black is an album of experimentations, and that's fine if that's the way you look at it. The songs are not conventional at all--they aren't even songs as much as they are motifs of sound. That said, the experiments are wonderful if not entrancing and hypnotic, and James Blake's voice is incredibly soulful.

    Hopefully though in the future we can see him doing something a bit more
    cohesive. Sure, keep experimenting Blake, but i'd like to see some applied learning too. Expand
  11. Mar 23, 2011
    9
    This album is lush with minimalism. James allows for some time for his listeners to absorb what they just heard and anticipate what they will hear next, and what I hear next is very good. His music is being compared to The xx and I don't get that comparison too much at all. I didnt' like The xx, and I compare this more to Radiohead. My senses come alive even though the music is often so dense -- dense with gorgeous sounds of silence, music and lyric. This album is a gem and well worth some of your currency. Expand
  12. Sep 5, 2011
    8
    Why do i have to write 150 words when James Blake's soulful, exciting and saddening album can only be expressed through the word - WOW.
  13. Oct 26, 2012
    9
    James Blake is unlike any artist I've ever had the pleasure of listening too. He's an experimental, electronic, soul artist that, to me, sounds like Bon Iver if he was an electronic musician. He writes music that is completely original and doesn't stray away from what HE wants, not what anyone else wants or expects from a typical singer-songwriter. His minimalist approach to his style is beautiful, at times extremely haunting. Since I first heard this album, most of the songs have stayed with me. I can't help but continually go back to it. All In All, James Blake's self-titled debut is nothing short of fantastic and it's something that might be a little hard for people to really delve themselves into, but it's intoxicating from start to finish. A- Expand
  14. Feb 9, 2011
    9
    James Blake's new world dubstep is awe-inspiring. This is a new genre, if most aren't already aware of his innovation from "Limit to Your Love," Feist's heart-wrenching love tale about love and it's inevitable extinction. He takes the elements of dubstep, and what we know of it, and fuses soul with latent piano drools. This album may be the best of the year so far, and may be the top of the year as a whole, right alongside Bright Eyes' "The People's Key." Expand
  15. Apr 3, 2011
    8
    The best song on this album is a cover, but the same was true of Terence Trent D'Arby's debut. I'm not comparing them (maybe a little) but I like how they are inheriting soul and making it new.
  16. Oct 30, 2012
    8
    Certainly one of the best albums of 2011.
    I usually like Dance-Pop, but this album has really stood out. I just love the use of the Electronica in songs like the powerful 'Unluck' or 'I Mind'. The echoing and the pauses create a haunting, beautiful effect.
    I guess some people will inevitably give it 10/10, but I don't see it as flawless.
  17. Dec 21, 2011
    4
    I found this album boring and full of useless electronic arrangements that makes this album unpleasant. In my opinion this album is extremely overrated and I can't see any future in this artist.
  18. Nov 20, 2011
    8
    The debut studio album by James Blake surprisingly managed to climb to the UK Top 10. It was also the first release of 2011 to receive a 9.0 rating from Pitchfork. Now, if this is not an accomplishment, then what is? But James Blake deserves all the buzz for one reason only: itâ
  19. Jul 30, 2012
    4
    I really tried to like this album. After two full listens, I found myself floating inside an utterly boring record, with uninspired melodies and poor produced songs. The only positive view I could give is about the high level of Blake's songwriting and his voice, that has a special tone within. But, it is still one of the most over-hyped albums of past year.
  20. Feb 12, 2012
    0
    James Blake is an overhyped indie artist with nothing really behind his pretentious music style... People praise The Wilhelm Scream without actually realising that it was his father who wrote the song. The production is dull, and overall, this release is boring.
  21. Jun 3, 2013
    10
    With stark minimal beat, fuses with James' deep soulful voice made his debut album a piece of distinctive record. It has its complexity as an electronic music yet somehow managed to stayed light, like post music in general. A marvel. Highlight tracks: I Never Learnt to Share, Unluck, Limit to Your Love, Wilhelm Scream
  22. Jun 20, 2013
    10
    This album, My favorite of 2011, unlike anything I've heard. Maybe I haven't listened to enough to say that, but James Blake has created such an incredible bridge between soulful singing and wonderful electronics- he should collaborate with other artists more often, his beats would do beyond justice to other's talents.
  23. Dec 27, 2013
    10
    Considered an important moment in the emerging genre, Post-Dubstep, from the time of its release, this debut album from James Blake is absolutely amazing. Though Post-Dubstep is definitely an appropriate label for the album, tracks like "I Mind", "Limit To Your Love" (a cover of a Feist song, by the way), "The Wilhelm Scream", and the short interludes "Why Don't You Call Me" and "Give Me My Month" defy this label and show how wildly experimental James Blake really is. This one is mind-blowing from its brilliant opener, "Unluck", to its soulful finale, "Measurements", and in between contains songs that use the emotional elements of R&B/Soul and the hypnotic qualities of electronic music to its fullest potential. Expand
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Apr 28, 2011
    80
    Like Portishead, this album may very well achieve background ubiquity, but that should not be allowed to obscure the strangeness and currency of this record. [Mar 2011, p.46]
  2. 75
    An intriguing concept, not always fully realized. [1 Apr 2011, p.77]
  3. Apr 6, 2011
    80
    London singer-songwriter attempts to annex the middle ground between Benga and Anthony Hegarty. [March 2011, p. 96]