Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two Best of 2016



 
9. James Blake
The Colour in Anything
(Universal)

James Blake is a bit of an anomaly, operating in an in-between space within the musical landscape, not quite mainstream but far too popular to be considered anything close to indie. You don't get to work with Bon Iver, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Frank Ocean and keep your indie cred. But with The Colour in Anything, Blake proves that he has no intentions of selling out, either.
 
Probably his most assured release to date, with a degree of polish that only comes with working with venerated producers like Rick Rubin, his third LP is nothing if not quietly triumphant and resolutely personal. Some argue it's too long, too maudlin, too Blake, but nobody but Blake could have created The Colour in Anything, and that's more than many, if not most, of his contemporaries can say. That is, if he even has any.
Scott Simpson