Balladry may have made James Arthur an X Factor champion, but he’s always been a singer-songwriter with a broader vision than your average acoustic troubadour. Building on the soul-pop foundations of 2016’s Back From the Edge, he sets his lived-in vocals to his richest palette of sounds yet. The drama and pomp of opener “You” suggests the Teessider absorbed a few tricks while contributing to The Greatest Showman: Reimagined, and he recruits Ty Dolla $ign and UK rapper Shotty Horroh for the spry hip-pop cut “Treehouse.” Those vocals demand a few stripped-back heart-tuggers, though, and the album’s reflective second half explores the twists and turns of love on “Empty Space” and the gospel-influenced “Naked,” while the graceful “Fall” evokes Arthur’s own struggles with addiction and anxiety.
You (feat. Travis Barker)
Finally Feel Good
Marine Parade (2013)
If We Can Get Through This We Can Get Through Anything