- Whether he's singing an otherworldly torch song or sending his voice through filters, James Blake has a way of stopping people in their tracks. He's gained a fan base that ranges from underground dance heads to rock kids to Beyoncé. On his latest song, "If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead," Blake's voice is back at the forefront. It stutters and loops like an old chopped-and-screwed mixtape, a return to the psychedelic manipulation of Blake's early dance floor records. The production, which cleaves most words in half, is both riveting and vaguely frustrating—the distorted syllables force you to listen closely to decipher the lyrics, lending the track urgency. There's also something menacing about it, especially the helium-voiced chorus where Blake sings, "If the car beside you moves ahead / As much as it might feel as though you're dead / You're not going backwards."
Blake backs himself up with a plangent instrumental that sounds like a melting jazz ensemble. A gooey bassline pools underneath the chorus before making way for a spoken-word verse. Even then it's not easy to understand the lyrics, but like much of Blake's music the meaning is in the feeling—not only the words. "If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead" plays to his strengths, combining his soulful voice, cosmic production and haunting hooks until you can't hear where one ends and the other begins.
01. If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead