James Vickery – Songs That Made Me Feel: “An album to put on repeat”
Soft. Slow. Silky. These are just some of the descriptors that feel apt upon hearing James Vickery’s debut album, Songs That Made Me Feel. The singer has been on the scene for some time, both signed and unsigned, having racked up millions of hits on a YouTube session from culture platform Colors. This first full collection has been years in the making and the result is a record that is tinged with soul, low-fi beats and lush but subtle soundscapes, a confident R&B release that will delight fans of the genre.
As the title suggests, this feels like a compilation of diary entries, the artist wearing his heart on his sleeve as he sings about past and future – relationships. The playlist opens with slow piano chords and distinctly raspy but smooth vocals in Rather Be, setting a very laidback and intimate tone that continues throughout. The sultry vibes are accentuated in tracks like Until Morning, a definite highlight with impressive falsetto right from the start and a beat that one could imagine slow-dancing to. There’s also funk and gospel undertones in Somewhere, Out There, another musical and lyrical highlight featuring the raw and reflective lyrics, “finally I am at peace with myself”, alongside the foreshadowing, “I have so much more to give.” There are several collaborations that are more experimental; You Comfort Me is a romantic tribute featuring American hip-hop duo Earthgang. Finally, the songwriter saves the most hard-hitting emotions for the end in the form of Save You, a stripped-back ballad about trying to rescue a failing relationship.
It’s refreshing to hear new music within the genre from a promising rising British talent. Songs that Made Me Feel may, however, require a few listens in order to be fully appreciated, especially as the stylistic differences between some numbers are more nuanced. The oscillating tempo is so deliberately and consistently gentle that it risks blurring into the background and can feel restrained at times. Despite this, with Vickery’s unmistakably smooth vocals, it would be a satisfyingly welcome album to put on repeat. At just over 30 minutes, it’s also a relatively short record – but ultimately a promising release that leaves the listener wanting more.
Photo: Harry McCulloch
Songs That Made Me Feel is released on 16th July 2021. For further information or to order the album visit James Vickery’s website here.
Watch the video for Save You here: