Single Review: James Blunt – ‘So Far Gone’

After the beaming success of James’ first album ‘Back To Bedlam’, his second album ‘All The Lost Souls’ was met with a prejudice which ultimately ended in a commercial disaster that would have his record label executives pinning his face up on their dart boards. Amongst cynics and those that had ‘You’re Beautiful’ bashed around their heads one time too many, it was largely shunned, both by media and by consumers, left to pail sales-wise in comparison to his début, despite the fact that at times it was genuinely very good.

He may have sold 17 million albums to date but there’s a mountain of dislikeability that most listeners need to scale in order to give his music simply a listen, but nine times out of ten, the youthful wits among us won’t bother and will resort to laughing at the rhyming possibilities of his surname.

With ‘Some Kind Of Trouble’, James’ third pop/rock outing, we saw him churn out the same lyrical clichés so sweetly saccharine that they rotted the teeth of the listeners, sung by that trademark trembly voice that goes too high, too often. But ‘So Far Gone’ stands out not because it’s anything spectacular, but because for once his desperate yearning are credible. The instrumentation is very reminiscent of lite-Coldplay mixed with OneRepublic (but then again, Ryan Tedder does have co-writing credits), and the lyrics just about do their job without making your toes curl.

‘So Far Gone’ is nice enough as a pop song about a girl walking out of a man’s life, and if you’ve liked James Blunt in the past, you’ll love this. It starts with a pulsing guitar loop, soon joined by James and then a piano loop for the bridge. The song itself is nothing special, nor anything revolutionary, but it is a very nice song. I like the way James shows an emotion other than undying love for lost memories of a loved one; the way that he, effectively shrugs off this girl who’s become “a stranger standing next to me” and the fact she’s leaving him, declaring he’ll “just say want you [the girl] won’t say” and make the end to their relationship a smoother one.

James is a master in his own field – a field that usually consists of being a staple for Magic FM with ‘You’re Beautiful’ and generally being so stomach-churningly nice it’s like being force-fed a Hovis-sized block of pure marzipan, but on this song he just about reigns the clichés in, puts enough oomph into the instrumentation, and channels his strengths effectively.

Here’s the video – I never knew he had green eyes!

Clearly shot whilst Britain was covered in snow… I miss it already…

In hindsight, I would like a little more progression from James; he’s on his third album and if this is one of the better tunes from it, I don’t have high hopes for his fourth LP. He sticks to his guns but appears to forget he lost most of his casual listeners after the first album to fears that his second would be more of the same. Unfortunately, if those same listeners shunned his sophomore effort in the hope that five years after his début would be around about a good time to start listening to James once again, they should just go back to ‘All The Lost Souls’. But as it is, ‘So Far Gone’ could easily slot onto that album anyhow as it’s one of ‘Some Kind Of Trouble’s stronger tracks.

I’m quite proud of myself… I managed to review a James Blunt song with mentioning once that it’s “heartfelt”. Yay! And a gold star for me…

Rating: 3.5 STARS

Download: January 3, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Some Kind Of Trouble’

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