James Blake: Power On

Written by Daniel McGrew


In category: Song of the Day

Published April 26, 2019

I thought perhaps my final post would be something new, something I’ve heard a lot lately. James Blake’s Assume Form was just released in January. I can’t quit it; I have it on a loop. It’s unmistakably James Blake, but also different. I mean, it’s not not sad—he always delivers on that score—but this album’s sad is pretty sweet, very much in love.

I keep playing “Power On” in particular for its catalogue of miscalculations. All too familiar lately—“I thought… I was wrong.” But also its disarming sweetness: If if feels like a home, power on, I thought you were second place to every song.

I guess powering on is about making space for the unexpected, to be surprised by yourself, by who and what you want. And these discoveries are hopeful; they comprise possibility. The song is not about failure; it is about a kind of coming to life, finding a home (as the song says) finally
Lately, this is familiar to me: looking into the eyes of someone you love, and understand that there’s beauty that can’t be anticipated, belonging you’d neglected to consider, even dismissed.

Drop a pin on the mood that you’re in.

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Praised for his “lovely, nuanced tenor” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Daniel McGrew is an active performer of a broad range of repertoires spanning opera, musical theatre, early, and new music. Recently at Tanglewood, he appeared as François in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and participated in the annual Festival of Contemporary Music. An early music specialist, Daniel has performed Bach with conductors including Matthew Halls, John Harbison, David Hill, and Masaaki Suzuki, and toured India and the Baltic region with Juilliard415 and Yale University’s Schola Cantorum. He participated in the symphonic premier of James Lapine’s Sondheim on Sondheim with the Boston Pops Orchestra and appeared in David Loud’s Sondheim revue, A Good Thing Going. Daniel holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Yale School of Music; he is currently pursuing a DMA at the University of Michigan.  Daniel McGrew will make his debut with NYFOS this June in Manning the Canon.


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