Wednesday, 24 October 2012

James Blunt in Retirement

James Blunt

James Blunt has recently made a statement to the press that he is retiring from music. Twitter went nuts at the news, generally saying "he won't be missed". It's always a bit harsh to criticise someone quite like that, but when you consider the crimes against music he committed (in my opinion), who can blame them?

He had an unusual career, inasmuch as he was first solider in the British Army, serving in Kosovo in 1999 and then turned his hand to music later in life.

If one was to trade on stereotypes, ex-army types should make music like this:

well, that's how we do in in Australia anyway. God bless The Mark of Cain. But this ex-army guy chose to go all "Sensitive New-Age Guy" on us.

Personally, I don't blame James Blunt entirely for songs like "You're Beautiful". I blame Coldplay for opening up the music industry to all these sissy bloke bands who sing in really high voices, trying to be sensitive but doing so in such an emotionally detached way that it just rings hollow. James wrote music to fit in with the Snow Patrols and Maroon 5's of the world and their fans.

His first single "You're Beautiful" was the earworm from hell. It was everywhere and it lodged itself in your brain and you couldn't get rid of it. Then the follow-up "Goodbye My Lover", which was as hideous a song as you could possibly get. My standard response to the song was "no wonder she left you, when you sing crap like that".

Thankfully, he followed up that record with a soulful second LP called "All the Lost Souls", which avoided the pitfalls of the first record - in short, it was almost as wussy, but at least the first single from the LP "1973" wasn't altogether cringeworthy.

Subsequent albums came out to an ever decreasing fan base, so the cynic in me would suggest that this announcement is a ploy to boost sales for a few months in the run-up to christmas. Maybe he was feeding the online trolls. Whatever the reason, he's had his day in the sun and he gave it his best, even if I didn't always like his work. I respect the man for bowing out gracefully, even if it's probably the most un-rock'n'roll way to end a rock'n'roll career. Enjoy your retirement, man.

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