1. Craving 2. Hold Back The River 3. Let It Go 4. If You Ever Want To Be In Love 5. Best Fake Smile 6. When We Were On Fire 7. Move Together 8. Scars 9. Collide 10. Get Out While You Can 11. Need The Sun To Break 12. Incomplete
Release Date: March 2015 Label: Republic Records Tracks To Notice: Hold Back The River, Scars
A lot could be written about James Bay. From his busking days in Brighton while studying next to Tom Odell at BIMM, to receiving Critic’s Choice Brit Award. Whether those critics are so skilled that they discover all the stars-to-be or it’s the award itself that causes this shine is not something to be answered here. In this case anyway, James Bay‘s first album fails to impress, despite this award.
Nevertheless, he’s a talented singer, that’s out of the question, and there are few songs that can easily have a minor success for a few months. ‘Hold Back The River‘ is definitely one of them, along with ‘Scars‘, on which, as in the greatest part of ‘Chaos And The Calm‘ he sings about lost or distant loves or a few other similar stuff so often found in that kind of pop songs. At some points his piano sounds a lot like his classmate’s success, as on ‘If You Ever Wanted To Be In Love‘, and guitar is not missing, along with some variation of rhythm (‘Collide‘). But no matter how carefully built, eager for success those twelve songs might be, they barely leave something behind, even after replaying the album several times. James Bay is a singer/songwriter who’ll be troubling us for the time to come, but his debut can’t really help him in standing out from the bunch of his compatriots of the same style.