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Moon Landing by James Blunt
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.'
Initial sessions saw him working with a real musician's producer - Martin Terefe, and these recordings have an undeniable freedom and celebration in their sound. 'I was playing a lot of ukulele - mainly because it makes me look bigger,' says James. 'We got on so well we could easily have done a whole album together and more.' But then James chose to strip it back further - he went back to LA, staying with his friend Carrie Fisher as he did for the first album (Back To Bedlam was her title suggestion, and the vocals for Goodbye My Lover were recorded in her bathroom). He also returned to producer Tom Rothrock, and to working with just the two of them in the studio, occasionally bringing in selected musicians from the Back To Bedlam sessions to fill in where James' own skills weren't enough. 'I'm a useless drummer,' he says cheerfully. 'And I didn't play the bass much, either. But I can find my way round almost anything else.'
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.
For more details of the album and to purchase, click here.