When I was fourteen, I discovered an ocean of foreign feelings all at once. I found a new crisis on a daily basis. They were unrelenting, and they were all real.
Among the favorable crises, I fell in love for the first time. But when you’re equal parts exhilarated and confused, it helps to hire a local native–someone to show you through the scary jungle. Music became my tour guide through my first love.
My introduction to that floating feeling was helped by Coldplay’s first album. Once I played that one to death, I used tools like Last.fm to explore related artists, and soon I was in over my head. I was overwhelmed when music cranked up the sentimental rocket boosters, but to have experienced first love while discovering Zero 7 is a glimmering, rare memory.
Truthfully, I haven’t felt anything so strong since then. Hyperbole aside, I don’t think it would even be possible to top it. The right music at the right time amplified my experience, and those memories now lurk deep in the untouchable semi-fiction of my mind. Still, there’s hope for me.
It’s been years, but “Retrograde” gave me one or two of those goosebumps back. Wrapped in an undoubtedly electronic wardrobe (see his SoundCloud for his ventures strictly as a producer,) James Blake’s simple, soul driven sound is bringing a profound grace back to downtempo vocalists.
I hope for more like this from Blake, but I don’t think I’m the best judge anymore. It’s not my turn. Somewhere, a different kid is falling in love for the first time.
And it sounds like “Retrograde.”