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James Blunt Drops “Who We Used To Be”

At the risk of sounding derisive, the material on James Blunt’s Who We Used To Be is as mainstream pop as mainstream pop gets. It won’t come as a shock for long-time listeners, but still, that should be the expectation when entering that album. All the same, there’s experimentation within those bounds, beginning with “Saving A Life,” an anthemic, pop rock ballad.

James Blunt’s Who We Used To Be Showcases Continued Songwriting Craft

“Some Kind Of Beautiful” takes a step towards the dancier side of the genre, with both a title and message that rings out similar to his smash “You’re Beautiful.” With a bouncy cadence and twanging guitars at play in the background, “Beside You” hints at a country direction—though, in its chorus section, retro synths do the heavy lifting and prevent the song as a whole from fully taking a Southern plunge.

“Last Dance,” proving to be one of the more popular cuts on the record in the early goings, makes good on the cinematic promise of its title. In the lyrics, Blunt makes reference to true finality, and thus centers the track around a “carpe diem,” “no one lives forever” kind of message. Coming right after, “All The Love That I Ever Needed” follows in its footsteps, carrying forward that concept of “things left unsaid.” Presumably written about Blunt’s current relationship (now marriage), the singer croons “One life did I leave it too late? / Realized that I didn’t say the words like I should have done / I never felt this way for anyone.”

Taken from @jamesblunt on Instagram.

“Dark Thought” provides another emotional moment—this time tackling thorny mental health subject matter. Written from a retrospective point of view, Blunt tells the story of a late loved one who has presumably passed of their own accord. In the verse sections, he gives heart-wrenching imagery of a house now grown over with ivy and heirlooms now up for auction, and in a touching chorus, he wonders aloud whether anything he could have said would have changed the tragic outcome. It’s easily James Blunt’s best performance on Who We Used To Be, his vocals no doubt accentuated by the serious topic he tackles with it.

The Four Deluxe Edition Tracks Added Upon Release

As far as the four deluxe version songs go, it’s a similar set of offerings as what’s in in the bulk of James Blunt’s Who We Used To Be, but maybe takes things down a notch from the maximalist production in the main section. “Care A Little Less” evokes Billy Joel’s “Vienna” by imploring a partner to take a step back and enjoy the little things in life.

“A Thousand Lives” and “Confetti And Roses” are both half-mourning, half-celebratory ballads about relationships that could have been. The latter plainly states as much in its hook: “When you see my face, don’t read my mind / I wish it was mine, the hand that you’re holding / It could have been us.” The former takes a more bittersweet approach to the same prompt. While it uses similar imagery in its telling, the tone that “A Thousand Lives” carries instead credits both parties for giving their relationship their best shot.

As with all of his previous releases, Who We Used To Be seems like a sure bet for both commercial and audience success. You can find it on all streaming platforms now.

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