James Blunt – Bonfire Heart EP Review

It’s been a long three-year wait for fans of James Blunt as they’ve eagerly awaited the release of his next album – but after such a long break, would the new material be up to scratch?

If Blunt’s teaser EP release – Bonfire Heart – is anything to go by, then ‘Moon Landing’ looks to be his best album yet. The EP features four of James Blunt’s new songs, and each one is an example of how Blunt’s skill has matured over the last three years.

‘Bonfire Heart’ is the lead song on the EP, and was co-written by Ryan Tedder. The twosome last worked together on Blunt’s hit Stay the Night and it’s fair to say that this latest song maintains the standard set before it. It starts with a gentle acoustic that’s reminiscent of Daughter’s ‘Candles’. However, soon the beat joins and you’re suddenly aware that this is a very different song. Feet tapping, head bobbing – the song is already on repeat. It’s the type of music that will be played in the background of some inspiring YouTube clip of a person overcoming difficulty. The song leaves you with a smile on your face and the feeling you just listened to something unique.

James Blunt’s tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘Miss America’, is an acoustic ballad about the connection fans feel towards well-known stars due to the constant media glare, and how the individuals cope with the attention of fame. The simplicity of using a grand piano for accompaniment and the melancholy lyrics draw many comparisons to Elton John’s ‘Candles in the Wind’. The Miss America lyrics, ‘did someone give you something to help you ease the pain? Like the liquor in the bottle, we watched you slip away. And I feel as if I know you through the bars of a song. Always surrounded but alone’, also act to poignantly draw many parallels to the young stars of today.

‘Next Time I’m Seventeen’ has you singing the chorus after just one play. The song is catchy, and the music is fun. The lyrics are a throwback to the late eighties and early nineties, when James felt the innocence of his teenage years; ‘something’s gone wrong with the weather, there’s a storm out in the desert, but to us that all seemed very far away’. It’s a nostalgic song that makes the listener reminisce about the teenage days of sleeping on fields, playing with your friends, and your main concern being when maths homework was due.

‘Heroes’ is the forth song on the EP, and is definitely not the strongest. It has an unassuming beginning, and I found my fingers twitch towards the ‘skip’ button before I’d even given the song a chance. However, the ghoulish beginning sets up the song for the listener to take in each lyric, and suddenly I was hooked. It’s a sad song about a young girl who is being neglected after her father left, and her mother turned to drink. The chorus is heart wrenching; it’s definitely not a song to listen to if you’re looking to cheer up. However, the song maintains the incredible standard that James Blunt has set by releasing this EP.

The new music has been produced by Tom Rothrock, who last worked with James Blunt on his album, Back to Bedlum. The album became the 16th best-selling album in UK chart history, with the sensational hit ‘You’re Beautiful’. It’s clear that this partnership works well, as all four songs are unique and powerful in their own way.

With James Blunt’s fourth studio album, Moon Landing, being released on the 21st October 2013, we can only wait and see if Blunt’s outstanding comeback continues into the new album.

By Keira Andrews