James Blake returns with his fourth studio album, Assume Form. On Twitter, Blake stated that this album was largely influenced by his ongoing four-year relationship with actress Jameela Jamil. It is clear that this inspiration has altered his usual style, as Blake sings over lighter melodies and explores the ins and outs of his relationship and his partner, which stands out in songs like ‘Assume Form’, ‘Into The Red’ and ‘Can’t Believe The Way We Flow’.
Assume Form shows Blake delve into new genres and sounds as well as collaborations. His promotional single, ‘Mile High' features hip-hop producer Metro Boomin (Metro Boomin also provides production on the following track, ‘Tell Them') and rapper Travis Scott, who joins Blake to rap over a trap beat about his relationship in relation to luxury items and expensive living. Blake collaborates with Andre 3000 in ‘Where’s the Catch?’ a track which uses deeper and slower beats to express their doubts about a relationship that seems too good to be true. The two-state how “everything’s rose” in the bridge whilst contemplating that there “must be” a catch to their lover’s advances.
A highlight of the album is the official single ‘Don’t Miss It’, which experiments with layered vocals and mild autotune to depict Blake opening up personally to listeners. As a sufferer of anxiety for many years, Blake recalled the moments he had lost as a result of isolating himself. In an interview with iTunes, he states: “there are millions of things that I could fixate on, and I have lost years and years and years to anxiety. There are big chunks of my life I can't remember—moments I didn't enjoy when I should have. Loves I wasn't a part of. Heroes I met that I can't really remember the feeling of the meeting. Because I was so wrapped up in myself." In ‘Don't Miss It' he reflects on these times which he hid away, "I could avoid contact with eyes, I could avoid going outside", but he tells listeners, and now himself to not miss important and special moments and events in life.
Blake noted that ‘Assume Form’ as a whole was inspired by his relationship with actress Jameela Jamil. He focuses on the moments prior to love in the song ‘Are You In Love?’ In which he captures the time where both partners require assurance that they will care for each other, whether they have fallen in love yet or not. ‘Into The Red’ is a direct love letter about Jamil as he sings in a list form over a simple beat. He reasserts her importance and value, calling her “the gold rush” and appreciates her selflessness, “she doesn't love anything for herself, but for me, she goes way in, way in, way into the red".
Assume Form is James Blake’s personal revelations about his life and his relationship. We travel with him on an exploration of new sonic terrains from hip-hop to electronic as he ties together an album which blends well together and ends with the calming yet powerful ‘Lullaby For My Insomniac’, which emphasises his vocals and layered harmonies.