James Blake – “Mulholland”

Just a few months ago, UK time-warper James Blake came out with the new album Assume Form. Blake, of course, specializes in intricately constructed, deeply emotive lyrical self-laceration. But compared to past Blake albums, Assume Form wasn’t so much of an internal journey. Instead, Blake found himself collaborating with some of his present-day pop peers — Travis Scott, André 3000, Rosialía, Metro Boomin, Moses Sumney — and generally depicting himself as a soul at piece. Today, Blake has released a deluxe edition of Assume Form, and it features one more track that sounds a little more like the Blake of old.

There are no big guests on “Mulholland,” Blake’s latest song, which now appears as the penultimate song on the new version of Assume Form. The new track features no big guests or outside producers. Instead, it’s a spare echo of a song, made with icy pianos and reverbed trap drums. And while the song still gives us the happy version of James Blake, it’s more built on hypnotic introversion.

Over and over, Blake repeats this phrase: “They are just now understanding me.” This might be triumphant, or it might be regret over the idea that the singer spent most of his life misunderstood. (It can’t be an accident that the title evokes both LA sunshine and Lynchian dread.) There’s also a coda that reminds me of latter-day Tyler, The Creator. Listen to it below.

The deluxe edition of Assume Form is out now on streaming services, and it’ll be out 5/10 on vinyl, CD, and cassette. You can order it here.

Tags: James Blake