When will we exhaust music? It's something odd to think about, as so many new and different songs come out every day. At some point, however, we will end up running out of combinations and possibilities. We haven't reached that point yet by any means, but we still find cases where other artists' songs seem to be exactly the same as another's.
That's what you'll be thinking a lot while you listen to James Blunt's new album. The Afterlove is full of rip-offs, though some of them of prove to have some quality. The album is more or less begun with a series of ripoffs - 'Bartender' is essentially a Jon Bellion song with its happy melody and very poppy instrumental. If the percussion were grander, it could've legitimately been a cover. The song is followed by 'Lose My Number,' which is a less agreeable version of Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You.'
It doesn't end there; in fact, it's pretty much the entire album that feels like one big steal. There are plenty of moments that really stand out as good, though. The reality is that very few tracks are brought down by the fact they sound very similar to others, it's just an observation that makes you scratch your head. 'Courtney's Song' is a fantastic song, atmospheric and pretty. It's also Zayn's 'Pillowtalk.' I can't even put my finger on what 'Don't Give Me Those Eyes' rips off (it's on the tip of my tongue) but I can't help but to fall for the great melody and pleading tone of the song.
This album does have highs and lows, though. After a lot of the aforementioned tracks, some lesser songs that don't really sound as infectious as the others. There's a stretch in the middle of the record that really breaks down the flow of the album. It starts with 'California,' where the album's very generous use of autotune starts becoming a detriment. 'Make Me Better' is much the same, and it's the autotuned version of Paramore's 'The Only Exception.' It's pretty sad to hear these songs because right after this short string comes the creepy and unique 'Heartbeat' that rings with a very haunting melody.
James Blunt's The Afterlove is full of good rip-offs, but don't let that distract you from what that means for the quality. It's a solid record full of decent tracks, both good and bad moments, but it does feel like it largely lacks a sense of uniqueness. You can't bar it as a bad album, but you can't mark it up as a great one all the same.
Favorite Tracks: Heartbeat, Don't Give Me Those eyes, Courtney's Song
Least Favorite Tracks: California, Make Me Better, Time Of Our Lives
Rating: 69 / 100
Buy or listen to The Afterlove here: