James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

First Hit #1: March 11, 2006

A Craigslist missed connection of a song, You’re Beautiful is somewhat refreshing, but it’s not very exciting. It’s almost a throwback, a ballad that is the very definition of timeless since it could fit in pretty much era you can think of with minimal modification. Timeless, of course, doesn’t mean amazing, it just means it has a quality that can’t be tied to a specific era. If Blunt had not existed until today, his song would be just as appropriate, and it could be released in the mid-80s without any big changes. Which isn’t to say I love it, it’s just a simple ballad that stands out because it was released in the same year as Grillz and could not be more different. Hell, after a string of ballads it might even be unbearable, since it is so simple and slight, and Blunt’s voice would probably grate if it wasn’t relatively unique in context. But at the time and place, it works as something as a palette cleanse. It’s simple, direct, and owes very little to the various trends of the decade. Charts run in cycles, and at a certain point we hit a level of saturation where trends and hits start to run together, and it’s songs like this which exist to keep the chart from getting too saturated, since it is so far from the trends of the day.

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4 Responses to James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

  1. tPenguinLTG says:

    I haven’t heard this song in ages! While yes, this isn’t a song that I would actually listen to, hearing it again was refreshing.

  2. RBerman says:

    Musically, another I-vi-IV-V song. Lyrically, a little pathetic to be this obsessed over a woman he saw on the subway once, but probably a comment occurrence. I doubt they really “shared a moment” as he claims; he certainly noticed her, but she didn’t give him a second thought, if even a first thought. Good news, though, James: You’ll see another pretty face tomorrow.

    I’d even put the arrangement further back, into the mid 70s soft rock era, alongside Bread and America and Seals & Croft, and Dan Fogelberg, except that the love song lyrics of those artists didn’t require radio edits for a simultaneous bit of vulgarity and cannabis reference.

    Other artists in the same soft rock category, who never didn’t make it to #1 in the era of R&B/hip hop dominance: Jason Mraz (“I’m Yours” spent a record-breaking 76 weeks in the Hot 100); John Mayer (three #1 and two #2 albums, and counting); Shania Twain (her “Come on Over” album is the best selling album by any female soloist or group ever). and Backstreet Boys (five Top Five albums, five Top Five singles).

  3. RBerman says:

    Er… common occurrence…

  4. RBerman says:

    Also, turns out that the song is about seeing his ex-girlfriend on the subway with someone else. So yes, she did notice him, and no, the lyrics do not do a good job of explaining why their momentary glance was so meaningful.

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