I first heard James Blunt's You're Beautiful in the autumn of 2005: I was listening to a bunch of tracks while working on a project for a radio station client. Within a few seconds I had stopped working and was just listening. That is very rare for me: music is usually just something for the background.
Such wonderfully wistful lyrics, with a voice that matches so perfectly. This is a song about an emotion that most - if not all - of us feel at some time, but that is so hard to capture in words. The desire for beauty and then the swings between despair (at not knowing how to grasp it) and wild unfounded optimism ("but I don't worry about that, 'cos I've got a plan."). He has the courage not to give us the Hollywood ending but instead the one that fits.
I asked for the album as a Christmas present, a long three month wait. Once I finally got it I was delighted that the other songs are of the same quality. This was not just my most listened to album in 2006, but it was most listened to album in every single month of 2006: I still have not tired of it.
There is not a single bad track, but I will still pick out some favourites, in addition to You're Beautiful: Goodbye My Lover, Cry and No Bravery. If you have not heard all of those, and did not find You're Beautiful too repellant, please give them a listen.
Speaking of repellant, it seems in the U.K. at least that opinion is sharply divided, partly due to the high voice he uses on some songs, and partly due to the large amount of air play and commercial success he has received. On the other side of the divided opinion are the nine million people who bought this album.
Learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Blunt
Buy from Amazon UK here or from Amazon JP, either U.S. Import or Special Edition for Japanese market (2 extra tracks).