If you are a POP fan, then you should be no stranger to James Bourne, from Busted to being a main songwriter at the start of McFly, to Son Of Dork to the cold tomorrowland of Future Boy, he is one of my favourite writers of all time. Everything aside from that terrible Thunderbirds theme song, everyone has one bad track in their back pocket, right?
Safe Journey Home takes a different musical tack. The pop punk on Busted and Son Of Dork is long gone. This is a far more personal record, there are traces of Billy Joel, Elton John, in fact this year I have been listening to a lot fo Cat Stevens and there are many songs here that you could place on Tea For The Tillerman. And that’s a compliment, obviously.
First single Everyone Is My Friend laid out what Bourne is going for here “Music heals the hardest heart, picks you up when you fall apart”. It’s lovely. 2020 is reflected in the brilliant Unknown “Everyone wants to be famous, everyone wants to be a star”, it talks about the emptiness that perhaps cannot be filled ‘just’ by an adoring crowd or a million likes.
I wasn’t sure about The Beatles when it was released, I just found it a little too Ernest, but it works much better as part of the album, I did not realise how open hearted the journey was going to be this time around and yes, it is just a song about how much James loves The Beatles, but it is cool to hear someone fanboying on their own album. Especially about a band so great. (Please write about The Beach Boys next record, okay?)
Batman’s House is a brilliant sideways look at fame, how a kid who used to wear a cape and play Batman a few years back could now be catching an Uber from Batman’s house at 4am. I can’t wait to hear James tell the story behind this, when we are allowed to go to gigs again.
Somebody Else’s Problem is the 3AM heart kicker of the bunch. How your heart will hold on to what it should leave behind. Ouch. “Just stop thinking about that girl” It’s stunning.
As the album closes with the Semisonic musings of Safe Journey Home, you hear the last call for James Bourne, but if this week is anything to go by, you will instantly flip over the vinyl and take the trip again. As well as being a collection of insanely catchy, intensely sweet tunes, the record sounds great sonically and I heartedly recommend picking up the vinyl.
It’s ten tracks of intimate pop magic, looking at fame, love, life and existence in a world brought together by technology, but equally apart. Bourne’s is a human touch, a great voice and a comfort in an increasingly mad world.