Music DVD Reviews: Review of James Blunt: Chasing Time - The Bedlam Sessions

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Buy your copy from James Blunt: Chasing Time - The Bedlam SessionsstarstarstarstarstarLabel: Custard/Atlantic
Released: 2006

Go ahead. Start some shit with me about James Blunt, a’ight?

Believe me when I say that I’m as sick of hearing “You’re Beautiful” as anyone else is, but the guy’s debut album – Back to Bedlam – was damned good. In fact, I described it as “the stuff that will be embraced by misunderstood young men, while making their sisters swoon,” and, as a misunderstood not-as-young-as-I-used-to-be man, I stand by that declaration. But with no word about a sophomore effort being on the horizon, Blunt’s label, Atlantic, is thoughtfully offering up a DVD to keep his fans happy in the meantime.

These so-called “Bedlam Sessions” are tracks from a concert Blunt performed for the BBC, with an orchestra backing him. His performance is uniformly strong throughout, but what’s really going to catch the ear of any music connoisseurs who may check out the DVD is the closing track: “Where Is My Mind.” That’s right, the man written off as the biggest wuss since Dan Fogelberg uses a Pixies song as his set closer. Admittedly, that lone cover selection probably won’t make anyone into an instant James Blunt fan, but you have to figure that Blunt probably got some smug enjoyment when he played it, watching a few eyebrows rise in the audience.

Beyond the concert, also included are the videos for “Wisemen” – which has people of varying sizes wearing James Blunt masks and looking damned creepy – and “You’re Beautiful,” as well as two different videos for “High.” The second version is decidedly more interesting than the first, possibly because he actually had a budget for the second one. (In the first version, he spends virtually the entire video buried up to his neck in sand.) There’s even a making-of documentary for all four of the videos, which is kind of cool. The promo featurette about our man James…entitled “Being Blunt” because, well, c’mon, the title was just begging to be used…finds him chatting about this song and that, and all the ladies will no doubt swoon at his accent and his omni-present stubble. (I’m going out on a limb and saying that Blunt has the most consistent stubble since George Michael circa Faith.)

So the disc is packed, and that’s good news for fans. What’s a major pisser, however, is that the UK release of this DVD contained a CD of the concert, though it removed “Out Of My Mind” in favour of a new song – “Sugar Coated” – and a cover of Crowded House’s “Fall at Your Feet.”

So does that mean Atlantic plans to release a CD of The Bedlam Sessions independently sometimes in the next few months? Wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Anything to scrape in a few extra bucks, particularly when they don’t know if a proper follow-up will hit or miss with US audiences.

~Will Harris