Future Islands just remixed James’ “Beautiful Beaches” and it was nothing special, to be honest. A stark vocal with light keyboards, that really didn’t build on the general idea, but I digress.
What did come of the remix was my immersion into the incredible song that “Beautiful Beaches” is. So much so, that I asked myself, “How the fuck are Tim Booth and James still making beautiful music?” Music that I want to sing!
Honestly, after all these years, they stayed sane, kept their heads down, and continued to write incredible pop music. While Kanye West is using listening parties to sell an unfinished product, and Morrissey labels Covid, “Convid,” James puts out an album that delivers hope in an unprecedented time.
On their 16th album, and after a few lineup changes, the band have again hit a stride of epic proportion. All the Colours of You is political, spiritual, and anthemic. Above all, it is brave.
Written during Covid, and after the loss of his father-in-law to the virus, Booth went deep, to wring out feelings we were all were dealing with. Somehow connecting him with his listeners, now, more than ever.
On “Beautiful Beaches” there is this theme of escaping, of getting “out of dodge.” “Take our Chances/get out of Kansas/Time to escape.” We all wanted to escape the virus, but that was impossible. We had to learn how to face our deepest fears, to live with despair, and then to live through it.
All the Colours of You is an album that we experienced together, or rather, an experience that we can share as one.
And to that reviewer who said that “James does not write songs that people want to sing anymore,” shame on you. Maybe you should actually listen to an album a few times before throwing it away.
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