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It’s been over a decade since James Arthur won the X-Factor, and since then Arthur has made his mark in the music industry with songs such as “Impossible” and “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Now the question remains; how does Arthur continue to make great music without sounding repetitive?

Arthur has released four albums including his latest release “It’ll All Make Sense In The End,” which was released Nov. 5.

His debut single, a cover of “Impossible” written by Shontelle, debuted at number one on the UK’s singles chart. Three years later he released “Say You Won’t Let Go,” which rose to the number one spot on the UK’s single chart again. Arthur also continued to make waves through other parts of Europe and the US. This single rose to the first spot on BillBoard’s Hot 100 in 2016. Since the popularity of “Say You Won’t Let Go,” Arthur has struggled to rise to the top of the charts again, and I’m not sure that this new album will change that. Through singles such as ‘Medicine,” and “Take it or Leave it,” we still see the same themes that are present in his earlier music - heartbreak and loss. 

Unfortunately, even though the themes have stayed the same,the strong songwriting we once saw from Arthur is no longer present. Songs like “Last of the Whiskey,” and “Always” tend to get the same, cliche, pop song repetitiveness. I understand that this might be needed if you’re looking to write the next hit single, but I would argue that it still might overshadow what could have been a potentially great song due to powerful verses.

In terms of style, Arthur’s sound has definitely changed since previous songs. Usually we hear low volume guitar or piano, but this album definitely tries for a more upbeat sound through faster paced songs and vibrant instruments. This is contradictory to most of the words about love and loss, but it is a great way to get a song stuck in someone's head. 

I have mixed feelings about this album. In comparison, I definitely prefer his old sound more, but I do think it’s important for artists to experiment with sound and lyrics so that they can figure out what works for them. 

To me, this felt like Arthur’s experience trying to write the next hit song and I don’t think it worked. I think this album could have been much better if he had stuck with what he knows - the piano and the guitar. When it’s just his voice and the instruments, listeners get the best representation of his lyrics and what he wants to say because we feel the emotion. 

Despite my mixed feelings about the album, I definitely recommend that others give it a listen to decide for themselves if they like the musical change James Arthur seems to be going for. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.

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