Friends That Break Your Heart is an album submerged in grief and gentle retrospection, breathing renewed life into moments you may have forgotten to truly mourn. James Blake has always had the power to make me feel and understand emotions in a way I’ve never fully experienced. This time, his reflections left me mulling over the deep sense of loss I’d feel if the friends who surround me today were to disappear.
The album begins with “Famous Last Words”, an entrancing, synthy track with its pain lying in its finality, as it clings to the final breaths of a friendship which has withered away. “Funeral” is also one of the most gloomiest ballads featured, which dwells in a visceral feeling of unwantedness. In all its fragility, I still feel comforted, especially when hearing slowthai’s contribution, who undoubtedly helps to make this one of the most exquisite tracks on the album. “Foot Forward” is a song that reminds me of the initial thrill of having an immediate bond with someone — an intense closeness that I’ve gradually learnt to grow suspicious of as Blake sings: “It was built in a day, so it fell in a day. What do you expect?”
The vulnerability of Friends That Break Your Heart is tangible and reachable, giving you the space to wander among feelings that naturally emerge from any kind of genuine connection. Amidst its sadness, I still felt a strange warmth. Each and every track stands alone, worthy of your full attention.
“Evocative and soothing – some of James Blake’s best work.”