London-born artist and producer James Blake follows up his 2020 EP, Before, with his fifth studio album, Friends That Break Your Heart.
The album was preceded by singles in “Say What You Will,” Life Is Not The Same” and “Famous Last Words.” Instead of continuing on his more electronic and experimental sound, he doubled down on his previous work, taking inspiration from his 2019 album, Assume Form.
It’s filled with melodic, soulful singing and features a more mainstream-friendly sound than songs like “If The Car Besides You Move Ahead” — or anything from his self-titled debut.
His singing is still as pristine as ever, exuding a quieter, minimalistic approach to his production style throughout the record. There’s not as many build-ups to a crushing crescendo like in years past, but Blake allows his voice a greater chance to shine in FWBYH’s finals tracks: “Friends That Break Your Heart” and “If I’m Insecure.”
While he claims production credits on each song, Blake also calls upon other high-profile producers to assist him. Joji and Take A Daytrip teamed up with him on the single “Life Is Not The Same” and he reunites with Metro Boomin on “Foot Forward.” Not only is he collaborating with more producers, but he also brings in several big-name features. SZA sounds heavenly over Blake’s swooning production on “Coming Back,” and “Frozen” features a standout verse from both JID and SwaVay.
While James Blake has recently become integrated into rap scene — touting collaborations with Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Flatbush Zombies and others — his latest effort continues to show how well his production and singing pairs with some of hip-hop’s brightest stars.
Listen to ‘Friends That Break Your Heart’ by James Blake below!