Music

James Blunt – Smoke Signals

Moon Landing is the fourth album by James Blunt. It’s an album about dreams, longing, first love. About looking in the mirror and seeing the boy you were, the man you are – and learning to be comfortable with that, flaws and all. About getting back to basics and rediscovering the power of music to communicate emotion directly and honestly, without too much polish or complication. ‘There’s just something romantic, old-school and lonely about the moon landings,’ he explains. ‘A nostalgic memory of something huge that we can hardly believe we once achieved, and for some sad reason, can’t achieve again – like first love.’ We all think we know about James Blunt, of course. But those who’ve been off-planet, here’s a recap on the story so far. Born in an army hospital in Tidworth, Wiltshire. Educated in Harrow, then Bristol. Signed up for four years in the Army. Ended up serving six, in Canada, Kosovo and then London. Spotted playing at the South by Southwest Music Festival, signed up by Linda Perry to her new label Custard. Recorded an album, Back To Bedlam, with Tom Rockrock in LA. Released it to universal indifference. And then the third single, You’re Beautiful, came out.

James Blunt - Smoke Signals

It was meeting between two old friends, making music for more than just the joy of it – but for the need. ‘Tom and I just sat in his studio for a few months, feeling our way. He has an array of old vintage instruments, and I went around playing them one at a time. It’s a much more personal album, between him and me: about us finding where it all started, and where we are now. I’m not trying to prove anything, I haven’t been trying to second-guess the audience or over-thinking things. It’s just me alone in a sound-booth, looking through the glass at Tom, trying to express myself simply and honestly. This is the album I would have recorded, perhaps, if Back To Bedlam hadn’t sold anything.’ The result is a collection of songs that are raw, direct, and emotionally honest. There are songs of searing self-examination (Always Hate Me, The Only One), and others that sound like soundtracks for films not yet made, like Miss America – a song inspired by the tragic death of Whitney Houston, to explore the idea of how fame makes us feel like we know that artist personally. From unabashed declarations of love (the jaunty Postcards, the yearning Blue On Blue), to what must be one of the most tender break-up songs ever, the achingly lovely Face The Sun, Moon Landing is a thing of pure, understated beauty. And, as an introduction, and like all of James Blunt’s best work, the melody for first single ‘Bonfire Heart’ will quickly etch itself into your consciousness, and you’ll soon be humming along to the sweetly reflective verses, and anthemic chorus.

James Blunt – Smoke Signals

You can never go back to the start, but some things you can rediscover. ‘In my teens, I found freedom in music. It’s a way of dreaming, a way to express who you are to the audience, but just as importantly, to yourself. It has taken me a while to understand it, to feel it again – and start dreaming again.’

James Blunt – Smoke Signals Lyrics:
One by one; they pass me by
And I’ve used up my supplies
Out of water; Out of hope
Can’t make fire; Only smoke
Here I am alone in silence
Cast away on a desert island
A traveller in ocean; lost at sea

Smoke signals in the night sky
Hope you see me as you pass by
I’m screaming from the cliff top
You’re the only one I’ve got to rescue me, to rescue me
Why can’t you see? Why can’t you see?
I don’t think that I’ll survive
I’ll die here without you
Oh, I can’t live without you

Sun comes up; then sun goes down
Wonder if I’ll ever be found
Here I am alone in silence
Cast away on a desert island
A traveller in ocean; lost at sea

Smoke signals in the night sky
Hope you see me as you pass by
I’m screaming from the cliff top
You’re the only one I’ve got to rescue me, to rescue me
Why can’t you see? Why can’t you see?
I don’t think that I’ll survive
I’ll die here without you
Oh, I can’t live without you

Smoke signals in the night sky
Hope you see me as you pass by
I’m screaming from the cliff top
You’re the only one I’ve got to rescue me, to rescue me
Why can’t you see? Why can’t you see?
I don’t think that I’ll survive
I’ll die here without you
Oh, I can’t live without you.

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