Welcome to Wesley’s music recommendations! I love discovering new music and want to share with others about these awesome artists! I want to start with James Blake’s Assume Form. This album dropped in January 2019 and uses a combination of electronic beats and trap beats and forms this crazy unique trap/hip hop/chill vibe. He makes use of Metro Boomin’s signature trap sound and slows it down into the style of Blake’s ethereal and haunting atmosphere. He uses features like Travis Scott, Moses Sumney, Rosalia, and Andre 3000 to contrast them with his voice.
Five Favorite songs:
Mile High (Featuring Travis Scott and Metro Boomin) :
The mile high club refers to people who’ve had sex on an airplane. This song combines Metro Boomin’s trap style with James Blake’s eerie electronic sound. The product is a slower, chill trap beat as the background. The 808 Bass, kick, snare, and hihats surreptitiously move in the back while Blake’s eerie, light electronic samples runs the melody. Scott does a great job singing in his “rap” voice rather than his “pop feature (like Know no Better)” voice. Both Blake and Scott use two different voice registers, their deep normal voice, and their falsetto voice. This creates such amazing contrast and dynamic of being grounded and being airborne.
Tell Them (Featuring Moses Sumney and Metro Boomin):
This is the second banger in the album. “Tell them” is more upbeat and begins with Moses Sumney rapping. It’s a monologue about a one-night stand. Of course, there’s an eerie (Best word to describe this album) falsetto-like voice in the background accompanying a violin. The Violin plucks give a whimsical feel but is heavily contrasted with the 808 bass creeping. It’s got an awesome drum loop from Metro Boomin which matches both Sumney’s rapping and Blake’s singing well. This is a creepy banger for sure.
Into the Red:
This song is dedicated to his girlfriend Jameela Jamil. The phrase “Into the Red” refers going into debt. The sound of this song sounds like an ethereal and haunting tribute to her because she would sacrifice her finances to push Blake towards his dreams of being a musician. There’s a somber violin playing in the intro and it switches into a sitar plucking its high notes. He may have added this sitar because Jamil is of Indian descent and wanted to use an instrument from that culture. The drums are mellow and give it an r&b type of rhythm. The best part of this song is the string quartet at the end which feels like Blake is giving his wedding vows to her.
Where’s the Catch (Featuring Andre 3000):
This song was the first song that caught my attention on the album because of Andre 3000. This song is an awesome combination of James Blake electronic style and mainstream trap music. There’s this cool piano loop running throughout the song. Blake begins this song singing he’s in love, but it sounds too good to be true so he asks “Where’s the catch?” This is one of my favorite Andre 3k verses. He talks about how this verse might get a little heady and talks about mental health. He uses metaphors of being trapped in cages like pets and living in harmony but there is a garden snake that lurks around waiting to bite. He makes an amazing use of words that sound the same.
“Harmony, harmony, how many, how many
Days of amazin’ will it be before it phases?
And I say, “I told you so” (Told you so)
Summer bee, summer bee buzzin’
Some’ll be hovering over nothin’
All of a sudden it’s fall and it’s over, though
Come with me, come with me, calming me down
Be chamomile, calamine lotion
Camel motion, humpin’ on the flo’ (Yeah)”
Andre’s verse alone is what makes this song amazing, but at the end is an awesome combination of Blake and Andre 3k saying “Everything’s rose” like everything’s too good to be true. It’s an amazing melody of vocals from Blake and Andre along with samples mixed with the pounding 808 drums.
This is a love song about Jamil giving him the energy he needs to go on through life. It begins with a whimsical whistle and chimes. As if we were strolling through Hobbiton. My favorite part of this song is the guitar like distorted sound that follows along his voice. It contrasts and harmonizes with the whimsical whistles and chimes. It reminds me of being in Lord of the Rings mixed with the movie Robot and Frank. Whimsical countryside mixed with parts of the city.
This album is such a unique combination of hip hop trap and electronics that you have to listen to it. Blake came from a place of loneliness but his love for his girlfriend has opened a way for him. These songs captures the journey that Jamil has taken with Blake and his relationship with himself. The songs begin with darker tones because he was in that loneliness. Now that he’s out, the later songs are much more upbeat and brighter and whimsey. Assume form is Blake realizing who he truly is and acknowledging that fact. He’s not lonely anymore, he does face doubts and fears, but he won’t face them alone. That’s why I think this album is so awesome. An album that pushes the creative sounds into new areas while telling his personal journey about his identity.