Hear James Blake’s Tender, Luminous Cover Of Frank Ocean’s ‘Godspeed’

Managing Editor, Music
05.15.17

James Blake performed at the FORM Arcosanti Festival in Arcosanti, Arizona this past weekend, and snuck a special cover into his set on Sunday night. Blake is featured on a couple other tracks on Ocean’s 2016-defining album Blonde, and for “Godspeed” he is officially credited with production, arrangement, and keyboard contributions. So it makes perfect sense that he’d want to try his own hand at performing it.

Aside from Blake, the song also credits Elliot Smith for a lyrical interpolation. And it has drawn a lot of interest from the musical community as far as covers go — Blake’s British compatriot Stormzy also gave us a chilling cover of the track earlier this year.

The snippet of the cover from last night sounds like it could’ve slated easily onto Blake’s own 2016 release The Colour In Anything, which explored many of the same themes about romantic love, loss, and growing into yourself that Blonde tackled. For his set, Blake opted to do a stripped back, solo piano performance, also playing some of his older songs and a couple off last year’s new record. Listening to this makes me want to hear Ocean’s take on something off Blake’s album — maybe we’ll get that reciprocation at some point soon.

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