Tuesday, January 03, 2006

James Blunt - No Bravery


Already this new year, I find myself sifting through a bevy of music; much of which has been on my backburner since November. Though I've never been one to set New Year's resolutions, I generally feel compelled to at least cleanse my palate and set my mind on a fresh path. As my fellow contributor Steve recently stated, 2006 arrives with many undiscovered possibilities for excitement on our little site. Having said this, I venture forth, with my first post of the year covering the song 'No Bravery' by James Blunt.

Though his debut album, Back to Bedlam, was released in the U.K. almost a year ago (the U.S. release was not until October), James Blunt's crooning vocals and subtle melodies present themselves just as effectively now as they would have at the turn of 2005, and probably as they will again in coming years. The young British artist's unique voice resonates of vulnerability in much the same vein as David Gray or Coldplay, and writes song structures that seem to have been written while listening to old Elton John records. While not yet achieving widespread attention in the States, his UK success puts James Blunt in a favorable position for the future. While I would review his entire debut favorably, one particular track stands out the most.

The album closer, 'No Bravery', was written back in 1999 when Blunt was an officer in the Royal Armed Force's peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo. Following in the wake of a harrowing civil war, Blunt's occupation in the country likely provided enough pain to write a hundred songs. Supposedly written in the evenings while lying awake in his sleeping bag, the devastation featured in 'No Bravery' pulls at the heartstrings in a way that only a song written from such personal experience can manage. Providing little comfort, but crafted with such a beautiful simplicity and perfection, this powerful finale to Blunt's album finds his voice on the verge of cracking; a delicate piano tune layered poignantly with lyrics of intense visual references. This song could reduce a person down to tears.

I am excited to see what James Blunt does with 2006.

James Blunt - 'No Bravery'

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