James Arthur, the winner of The X-factor UK in 2012, released his highly anticipated self-titled debut album as well as his follow-up single ‘Recovery’.
Here is our break down of the album and what we thought of it…
The first track, which is was also the first single off the new album, “Your Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You” is an upbeat track that cleverly infuses blues, pop and soul and incorporates a wide range of instruments and soulful harmonies. While we love this catchy tune, our only criticism is, however, the choice of having this song as a single, let alone the first single, as it is a poor reflection of what the rest of the album holds.
Another highlight of this album has to be the newly released single ‘Recovery’. It is a great follow-up single, and a clearer reflection of the direction that his album has taken. Once again, an almost flawless vocal performance from James, evoking a strong emotional connection to his lyrics which incorporate a great deal of Arthur’s trouble past of drug abuse and his battle with depression, which is similarly explored in the powerful track ‘Suicide.’
While, Arthur has a powerful voice many of the tracks in the album went without strong soulful harmonies, which were used in quite a number of tracks throughout the album to highlight his vocal, and penetrate emotional connection to the lyrics, that sometimes James Arthur’s vocals could not to do alone.
James Arthur’s strong influence of R&B and soul was made evident in the album, particularly on track, ‘New Tattoo’ and ‘Smoke Clouds’, which both have a rhythmic beat that reinforces the combination of both genres.
The album goes without collaboration from other talented UK artists. One of which included a duet with Brit Award Winner Emeli Sande who lends her vocals on ‘Roses’. The other by up and coming singer/songwriter duo by the name of Chasing Grace, who also appear on Naughty Boy’s album.
Each song on the track was written by James Arthur, so in choosing a collaboration with Chasing Grace he debated whether or not to use other people’s material. Falling in love with the track he ultimately decided to use Chasing Grace’s song ‘Certain Things’ and we can see why. The amazingly written track is an excellent inclusion in the album and Grace Ackerman (female vocal of Chasing Grace) shines in the track, and is a perfect compliment to James Arthur’s voice.
Ultimately, while the album does have a slight X-Factor gleam about it, overall it is a great collection of well-written songs that undeniably shine through because of James Arthur’s powerful vocal performance.
Both the self-titled album and ‘Recovery’ are out now!