Saturday, 20 October 2007

James Blunt, misunderstood artist or rhyming slang?

Give the Boy a Break!


The notion that Chris De Bergh could have a spiritual successor may be as believable as Gordon Brown's smile, but I feel that one has emerged. And as such , in my unhumble opinion, he deserves something other than the general opprobrium that surrounds his name.

You see, like the five-foot, rolled-sleeve eyebrow gnome, I think he's the victim of our need to be cool.

When Phil Jupitus commented that, on the basis that Radiohead allow us to download their new album for what we think it's worth, James Blunt should be paying us, we all laughed dutifully, "Oh that James Blunt, he's just such a perfect gadget, do not you think, Camilla?". Then we all snuck off and made it the number one selling album.

As I write this, I'm listening to Mr Blunt's new offering. There, I've said it out loud. Good afternoon everyone, my name is Jeremy and I... I... I'velistened toJamesBlunt!

D'you know what? It's really not that bad at all. In fact when I stop being prejudiced there are some good songs in here. Trouble is, because the guitar-strumming, lyric-based genre was established by a Duluth-born bloke from Minnesota, we presume to judge anyone who can't create a line like "Dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free" as a pretentious git. This is like condemning Albinoni because he wasn't Vivaldi (which a lot of people do). It's just a bloody pop song for God's sake!

Back in the eighties, my wife caught De Bergh's Syndrome, and the house resonated to Lady in Red and Tender Hands. I shut all the windows in case the neighbours heard, opening them only when she'd gone out and I could redress the balance by playing Tom Waits. Then I caught myself singing along with Last Night, or admiring the Gilmour-like guitar solo in What About Me.

So the point of this entry - if there is one - is that everyone has the right to like or dislike any bloody music they want to, and the people who produce it have an equivalent right. So James Blunt has an androgynous voice? No one seemed to have a corresponding problem with Nina Simone. Don't listen to it if it threatens your sexuality.
I do accept that You're Beautiful is pretty dire though.

1 comment:

Zimble said...

Hi Jem, glad you are back. Blunt is currently in Oz promoting and yesterday I heard a snippet of radio interview. He came across as articulate,funny and down to earth, saying that singing at Sir Elton's wedding was a great achievement and next he would aim for cruise ships! Perhaps his androgynous vocal style is part of his commercial success - easy for women to sing along to. Curiosity piqued, a Wiki search found his impressive service record. I won't be contracting bluntitis because I find his "One of the Brightest Stars" too close to the Bee Gee's "Run to Me". Nevertheless, good on him for getting his music out there and doing so well.
Z.