2004 – Atlantic/Custard Records – 39 minutes
Music is probably not the most obvious career choice for a former soldier, but James Blunt has turned his hand to it very naturally, releasing a debut album that is deep and complex.
Regret and loss are dominant themes. 'You're Beautiful' and 'Goodbye My Lover' highlight missed opportunity and the profound poignancy of never knowing what you've lost until it's gone, while 'Tears and Rain' combines regret at not belonging with loneliness.
'Back to Bedlam' is an apt title for the album as there is a certain manic energy throughout, particularly evident in Blunt's reaching, high-pitched vocal. Songs such as 'Out of My Mind' and 'Billy' show this trait, while others like 'High' and 'Wisemen' are upbeat and almost electric.
But alongside this liveliness, there's a sense of calm through the album. Blunt contains his frenzy on songs like 'Cry' and 'No Bravery', about things he saw while he was a soldier in Kosovo. These are very heartfelt, deep songs that you can't help but linger over.
With plenty of emotion and lots to sing along to, 'Back to Bedlam' is a nice beginning for Blunt. His unusual voice is soon going to be instantly recognisable.
Tracklisting: High – You're Beautiful – Wisemen – Goodbye My Lover – Tears and Rain – Out of My Mind – So Long, Jimmy – Billy – Cry – No Bravery