when the party’s over
Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer
When We’re Older
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
At some point during the COVID-19 lockdown, fans began asking James Blake to cover songs on Instagram. One in particular, a haunting rendition of “Godspeed” from Frank Ocean’s 2016 album Blonde, seemed to open the floodgates, and the idea for an EP was born. On Covers, the British singer-songwriter and electronic producer reimagines six essential songs, spanning the 1950s folk song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” made famous by Roberta Flack in 1972, to Billie Eilish’s 2018 alt-pop ballad “when the party’s over.” To each, he brings his unique touch—watery vocals, delicate production, and rich, undulating piano—showing a more intimate side to songs better known for their heft: The wide, ominous expanse of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” shrinks into hushed, romantic balladry, and Stevie Wonder’s hearty vocals on “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” suddenly become tender, soft, and weepy. The most spellbinding take is his cover of Beyoncé’s “OTHERSIDE,” a perfect cut from her album for Disney’s reboot of The Lion King. Here it’s titled “When We’re Older,” but the rest is left, understandably, intact. From the fluttering piano arpeggios to the gospel hums to the fluid vocal runs, it’s less of a creative reimagination and more of a soulful, reverent tribute.