Overgrown - James Blake
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 126

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  1. Apr 11, 2013
    8
    My expectations were sky-high for James Blake's sophomore LP, but I think I aimed just a bit too high. That's not to say this is a bad record, far from it at times, but it just cannot capture the eerie blues his self-titled debut grasped so well. James still has his broken, beautiful voice that propels this record like it did with his first record. This album however is much more hip-hop influenced and it'll either break the album for you, or make you fall in love with his stylistic differences. For me, I enjoyed it, although I could care less about the track with RZA. I wasn't feeling it.

    All In All, Overgrown is a beautifully produced record that shows James Blake growing not only as a technical wizard, but as a great songwriter also. B+
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  2. May 12, 2013
    5
    Averagely, Overgrown is a bit better than his self-titled debut, but while he starts off with what probably is his best song to date and impresses the listener with unique collaborations with hip hop star RZA and legendary producer Brian Eno, Blake isn’t able to maintain this quality throughout the 40-minute-LP. His mixture of electronic and soul is just as interesting and well-done as on James Blake and his EPs, but he suffers from the same issues as on them: incomprehensible lyrics and monotonous repetitions of phrases, which is something I can’t fully enjoy no matter how hard I try. Expand
  3. Sep 1, 2013
    10
    Oh good Lord the soul crushing beauty of the tracks 'Overgrown' and 'Retrograde' are enough to earn this album a space in the Top Ten Albums of the Year on their own. Thankfully though they are nestled in a dark, glistening concoction of yet more of Blake's soul oozing masterpieces. 'Overgrown' sounds like a journey underground. You never know where you're gonna surface or how deep you're going to go. Blake steers you through the labyrinth of his creation, depositing you reluctantly back in real life at the end of it. 'Digital Lion' has been played on my iPod multiple times daily since it's release. Expand
  4. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    I know the term "different" is thrown around a lot, but I am speaking truthfully when I describe James Blake as "different". His music is not part of any norm. You won't hear it on any popular radio station (with the exception of BBC Radio, but that is probably because they're both British). His music has depth. It has emotion. Hell, it makes you, the listener, emotional. With this new album, Mr. Blake reaches a whole new level of awesome. Once I received the album, I put on my sound cancelling headphones and was transported to another world. I was in James Blake's world now. He introduced me to his powerful yet peaceful opener "Overgrown", walked me through his overwhelming "I Am Sold", soothed me with "Retrograde", freaked me out with "Voyeur", and left me wanting more after the final hum of "Our Love Comes Back". I wanted his music to come back. Luckily for me, I have the capability to replay an album. Again and again and again, at least four times consecutively, I listened to the album. I could not stop. From the soft lull of bass on certain songs, to the frantic piano and vocal modification on others, James has reached a high point in his career. This is his best work to date and I hope he continues along the same path in the future. Expand
  5. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    The great James Blake is back. An immediate love at first-listen. Smooth, soulful, raw and R&B in it, Overgrown is by far the best in the making this year so far.
  6. Apr 22, 2013
    5
    This is a rather odd album. From the snippets, I wasn't expecting it to be so electronic based. Turns out that James Blake is actually quite into experimenting with dubstep and various electronic arrangements. Problem is, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. The tracks Life Round Here, Digital Lion and Voyeur were examples of how it was rather grating, but the other 8 tracks are much more appealing, although I struggled to find anything that was better than "ok." Expand
  7. Dec 28, 2013
    10
    On Overgrown, James Blake has created a collection of songs that operate as a far more cohesive album than his self-titled debut. In addition, all the songs are improved and show James Blake as a master of his craft, creating emotional peaks and unrivaled musical landscapes with his crooning lyrics and brilliant electronic melodies. Stand-out tracks include "Life Round Here", "Voyeur", and "Retrograde", the last of which might be the best single song of the year. Despite its high critical rating, I believe calling this album anything other than the album of the year is underrating it severely. Expand
  8. N10
    Apr 9, 2013
    10
    Well everything I wrote just.. got lost. Well what I can say about this album is that Jame's Blake has clearly stepped up his game with "Overgrown". As an artist he's obviously growing, as a singer/song-writer he's more confident. Great production, catchy melodies and well written songs. More smooth, more Soul/R&B to it. Might not be as experimental or "out there" as his predecessor, but this record sure is he's most unique and gorgeous one to listen too. 10 tracks around fourty minutes, not so long, but those fourty minutes are pure beauty. Right from the first listen I fell in love with this. An amazing album. James Blake's best album to date and my favourite of 2013 so far. Expand
  9. Sep 23, 2014
    10
    This album sounds so good in a way that I can't explain and James control his vocals with attitude. Here's my favorite's top 5:
    1 - Retrograde
    2 - Overgrown
    3 - Life Round Here
    4 - Voyeur
    5 - I Am Sold
  10. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    The charming prince of quiet is back with his sophomore album, "Overgrown". Taking more soulful approach without sacrificing the essential post-dubstep elements that makes his debut album special, James have certainly leveled up. Highlight tracks: Retrograde, Overgrown, I am Sold, Dlm
  11. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    Overgrown contains some of his best work to date. Pushing back the experimentation from his Self-Titled & dub from his EP's. he marches forward with his production & songwriting, both are getting stronger, resulting in an amazing follow-up, probably containing some of his most well-crafted tracks in his career.
  12. Jul 16, 2013
    8
    I enjoyed it more than his last album and think it's a big contender for anyone's album of the year. James returns with more emotion, more complex songwriting, and more abstract sound. Just based off this album and the last I'd say James is the most innovative man in soul music at the moment. I'd suggest his first album before this but this is a fine start as well.
  13. Apr 16, 2014
    10
    A near perfect electronic soul album, James Blake again redefines the way that soul and electronic can be mixed with a whole new set of tracks that only further his lead as music's best indie producer. Songs like "Overgrown" and "Our Love Comes Back" showcase an emboldened Blake with forefronted vocals and stronger, more fleshed out production. As opposed to his previous album, Blake revels in the analog nature of his instrumentation, with lush strings, wicked basslines and other natural sounds that only serve to beautifully contrast the wonky synths and abstract percussion that his debut had in spades. This album is more than just another notch in the growing catalogue of meaningful electronic music, it's a watershed moment--one that will hopefully have lasting reverberations throughout the music community. Expand
  14. Jan 29, 2014
    10
    holy crap. James Blake really out did himself on this one. Absolutely amazing, loved how he is able to take simple melodies and evolve them into something grandiose.
  15. Mar 23, 2014
    10
    "Retrograde" is my best of 2013, hands down. The humming at the beginning is an amazing throwback to Sam Cooke's "Trouble Blues," and Blake's record has just as much power behind it. I have high expectations for his upcoming collab with Chance.
  16. Apr 15, 2013
    10
    This is the kind of music you really LISTEN to. You have to pay attention, listen to the layers, the smooth and emotion in James Blake's voice. One of the year's best!!
  17. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Overgrown is a different approach than James Blake's self-titled début, but he still manages to create a fantastic LP with a more soul driven, R&B to it. Expand
  18. Apr 18, 2013
    10
    by @LucasJelinek MASTERPIECE: “Overgrown” by James Blake is a perfect SoulTronic album. A finely structured electronic experimental album with melancholy shed on each note, envelope spectacular voice. Interpretive and lyrical quality of James Blake is unquestionable.

    Blake explaining the meaning of the title of his album, which is taken from a poem, says: "It's the post-apocalyptic
    state where you can find yourself mentally."

    From start to finish is a clean and subtle work. The album speaks for itself.
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  19. Jun 16, 2013
    9
    Normally the term "a real grower" is provided for an excuse for unnecessarily complex, disappointing material. However, it is the most appropriate description for an album that is a real masterstroke of finding the middle ground. Blake takes all of the pop sensibilities that made 'Limit To Your Love' so catchy and 'A Case Of You' so mesmerising and combines them with his wildly adventurous production to create a record that is both beautiful and aggressive. 'Retrograde' is a perfect example of Blake's timid singing voice being combined with the sort of maximalist Post-Dubstep brilliance that gained him such notoriety amongst underground bass music's most influential labels' rosters. He's made an album that both factions of his deservedly extensive fan base will learn to love the Radio 1 crowd, and the bass connoisseurs and this is a master stroke worth praising. It is a privilege to watch him continue to forge a surely celebrated career. Expand
  20. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    James Blake is an artist coming out of his shell. Originally he didn't even like his singing voice, but release by release his vocals have become more and more the core fragment of his synthesis, and all the better for it. Expanding on his song-writing and knack for strong vocal melodies, and pushing his production back into the form of restrained beats, which elevate his vocal ability to a higher level, Overgrown is a refinement in every aspect of his debut LP, and a bold step into the realm of more traditional song structures. It is therefore warmer and more accessible than his previous work, which should hopefully earn a fair few fans before taking off into electronic experimentation, carrying his fans along with him. Expand
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 90
    Overgrown continues to build on a fantastic reputation: one that much like his music is aided by layer and layer of calculated additions that all together showcases one of music’s most gifted composers.
  2. May 10, 2013
    80
    Overgrown is a fuller, more heated album than its predecessor, denser and more tender. [No. 98, p.52]
  3. Apr 30, 2013
    50
    Blake may have dispensed with some of the more experimental and emotionally obtuse trappings of his debut album on Overgrown in an attempt to engage more directly with a wider audience, but his intentions are all but drowned out by a thick glass porthole being hammered on feverishly by a dozen drowning onlookers.