Chaos and the Calm - James Bay

James Bay is one of these new authentic singer-songwriters, whose honesty and simplicity make them special and successful. His music is so personal you can tell, because you can hear real emotion in his voice, when he sings.
I’ve heard some of his live performance and he’s so good. Definitely one of these people who aren’t just good on their records.

I love how he made his way to the release of his debut album "Chaos and the Calm" through
Soundcloud and video sharing by fans on social networks. It’s so nice to see that real talent out there get discovered and social media helps with it. And that if you put yourself and your passion into something it can work out.

But what about his music? It is really laid-back and beautiful. It’s perfect for nearly every situation of the day. Except for partying obviously. It’s nice for chilling in the spring sun or to listen to whilst reading a book or studying. Just try it yourselves.

I wanted to do something different this time, so I wrote down notes to every song, when I listened to the album en bloc for the first time. You can read them below. I’d love you to tell me what you think of that (and the album of course) and if I should do it more often when I get new music to listen to.

Here’s the track list with my comments:

I’ve got the feeling I’ve heard some song like this a few times before… It’s nice, James’ voice is great as I already knew, but the song’s nothing special… Not sure if this is going to be good.
(Annotation after listening to the whole album: This one’s by far my least favourite song from the album, even though it gets better with time. I’m glad the others are different.)

Hold Back The River
Okay, I know this one by heart already. It’s beautiful, with a catchy melody and appealing vocals. It brings the special tone in James’ voice to bear. A perfect single choice, no wonder it’s been his breakthrough.

Let It Go
Beautiful with true, very honest and personal lyrics. It’s a very simple and calm song, which shows the range of James’ voice.

If You Ever Want To Be In Love
This reminds me a bit of Simply Red, maybe because there’s a bit more Soul in it. I like it. I like Simply Red.

Best Fake Smile
Yeeehaaaa, Rock’n’Roll, I like it. I really like it. Definitely a song that has to go onto my “Car” playlist, perfect for cruising around town in summer with the roof opened and the music on very loud.

When We Were On Fire
Holding on with the Rock and the Soul with this one. It’s one of these typical songs that make you drum with your fingers or nod your head.

Move Together
Romantic and lovely. It is a song for the “Relax” playlist and a good one for asking an important question in life if you want to do it with a song.

It does sounds a bit angry. But there’s nice guitar bits, I like guitar bits.

Very Rock’n’Roll again, I love the rhythm the song’s got.

Get Out While You Can
Even more guitars, great. And a bit of piano. Musically very nice!

Need The Sun To Break
One of the simpler and sadder songs. So much emotion in there, it’s touching.

This is even more emotional and James’ voice sounds so marvellous on it. It’s a song that could make me cry when I’m in the mood.


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