James Blake has been busy the last few days playing shows on the west coast of the United States. While singing for crowds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, he shared a few new songs and played a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed.” It’s no surprise that the artist put together his own version of the song – he was instrumental in the production and arrangement on the track, which was featured on Ocean’s groundbreaking album “Blonde.”
For Blake’s version of “Godspeed,” which he performed at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, it was just him and the piano, the chords of the song ringing out in the sanctuary. The lyrics are as powerful as they ever were:
“Wishing you Godspeed, glory
There will be mountains you won’t move
Still I’ll always be there for you
How I do
I let go of my claim on you, it’s a free world
You look down on where you came from sometimes
But you’ll have this place to call home, always”
In addition to “Godspeed,” Blake also shared a few new songs with the audience. One was a fresh track called “I Can’t Believe That We Float,” a light track that skips above a feel-good choir of looped voices. Blake’s voice sounds as rich and hearty as ever on a song that possibly gives us a peek into sounds from a new album.
Blake’s last effort, “The Colour in Anything,” expanded the artist’s sound tremendously. From his powerful collaboration with Bon Iver (“I Need a Forest Fire”) to tender piano songs (“Forever”), the whole record was a tour de force of sound and feeling in which Blake didn’t leave any avenue unexplored.
The English artist shared another new track at the concert called “Asking For a Friend.” This one feels like a 90s slow jam in all the best ways. For an artist that makes what might be called “moody soul,” “Asking For a Friend” comes off as the closest thing he’s done to a slow-moving and optimistic love song. It’s light and bubbly, with a little tinge of Blake’s signature sullen sound thrown into the mix.
You can also find another new song called “Black Lung” floating around the internet, which uses a bit of Radiohead’s “Videotape” in the end.
Look for James Blake on tour, and listen to “The Colour in Anything” to get a broader taste of the sounds this man is capable of producing.