Album Review: James Bay – Chaos and the Calm
March 24, 2015
After a successful tour with the one and only, Hozier and receiving the 2015 Brits Awards “Critics” choice award, British singer-songwriter James Bay is taking the music world by storm with his debut album Chaos and The Calm. I was actually scrolling through my Tumblr newsfeed (which I do about ten times a day, btw) this past January when a friend of mine had posted Bay’s “Let It Go”, his iTunes UK top 10 hit. Trusting my friend’s music taste, I clicked the link and have never turned back.
Okay, so back to the album. Chaos and The Calm is composed of twelve unique songs that include Bay’s hit single “Let It Go” and his most recent single “Hold Back The River”. Both of these songs are at the beginning of the track list and not only set the mood for the entire album, but are guaranteed to be in your head for the next few days. By including these two songs within the beginning of the album, Bay sets the expectations for the rest of the album pretty high and gets your adrenaline rushing.
James Bay effortlessly highlights his soulful Indie-Pop vibes throughout the entire album but still finds a way to sneak in his mellow yet passionate lyrics into tracks like “Move Together” and “Scars”. It’s important to me that an album has songs that’ll make me jump with joy placed in between perfect soundtracks to those sad days when I’m clutching a bucket of cookies-and-cream ice-cream. Both “Move Together” and “Scars” sound like post-breakup songs but serve as an efficient way for listeners to discover James’ sentimental state of songwriting.
The last four tracks on the album consist of two more powerful masterpieces partnered with a pair of soft lullabies. “Incomplete”, the album’s farewell track, is a culmination of all that is good in his musicianship, an effective goodbye to listeners. But I have a sneaky feeling that by naming the last song “Incomplete”, Bay is hinting the album itself is in some way unfinished even after yesterday’s release. Will we get a Chaos and The Calm: Deluxe Edition soon or am I just losing my mind?
James will embark on an official tour with stops in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany and Holland starting this April. Check out the full tour and his interactive blog on his site, let’s hope for a deep detour to the south (we see that month break after your LA show there, James) as his album snuggles its way into many hearts over the next few months!