One of my favorite artists of all-time is Dean Blunt, an amazing singer/songwriter/producer from the UK who’s made some of the most interesting records this decade under a number of names. However, outside of his devoted cult audience, he isn’t quite as big as he should be and with the exception of a few publications, hasn’t earned the critical praise he deserves. So that’s why I’m here to bring you five songs to get you into Dean Blunt.
1. Dean Blunt – “50 CENT”
“50 CENT” is simultaneously one of the most mainstream-friendly songs Blunt has ever written, but also one of his most fascinating. Built upon menacing drum machines and shoegaze/dream pop-esque guitars, Blunt and guest feature Joanne Robertson both bounce off each other perfectly, both in the subject matter of the song with Blunt playing a gangster with a broken heart and Robertson as the ex-lover, and with Blunt’s baritone perfectly clashing with Robertson’s soprano. Not only is this track great on it’s own, it’s also somewhat indicative of the direction he’d go in after this. Speaking of….
2. Babyfather feat. Arca – “Meditation”
This track here comes from Blunt’s latest effort, Babyfather. Supposedly a group made up of himself, DJ Escrow, Gassman, Triumph ALLAH and Lady T, Blunt is their most notable contributor not only in name, but also in the music itself. “Meditation” comes from the group’s debut, “BBF” Hosted by DJ Escrow, and was one of my favorite songs of the year when it initially came out. The thick bass, the smooth drums, and the string loop in here perfectly come together with Blunt’s laid back and catchy delivery. A bit of a mind-boggler at first, but once it catches you it won’t let go.
3. Hype Williams – “The Throning”
Prior to going solo, Blunt was in an electronic music duo known as Hype Williams with producer/singer Inga Copeland. In their short lifetime, Williams produced some of the most fascinating electronic music of the decade that was hard to pin an exact label on. One of the best tracks they ever made was “The Throning”, a cover of Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo.” However, Copeland and Blunt completely flip Sade’s into something completely new. Instead of the smooth production and singing of the original, Copeland and Blunt bring a low fidelity take to the song without removing the core elements of what makes the original work. The crunchy drums, dreamy synths, and Copeland’s low fidelity vocals all bring something new to the table without ruining the established work. Also, the breakdown at the end is to die for.
4. Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland – “The Narcissist”
Speaking of Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, this is one of the final collabs they did before parting ways in 2013 for one of Dean Blunt’s first solo releases, The Narcissist II. Copeland’s sultry vocals completely clash with Blunt’s typical baritone, though more ragged than usual. While in the song Copeland seems to have her act together, Blunt is a hopeless ex-lover, hoping for one last try as you can hear the absolute desperation in his voice. It’s Blunt’s most popular track and one that’s hard to not find any emotion in.
5. Dean Blunt – “Brutal”
I’m cheating with this one, slightly. To fully gather the weight this track brings, I highly recommend listening to the full album this is on, The Redeemer, which I consider to be my favorite album of all-time. “Brutal” is the last real song on the album and wraps up the storyline we hear bits and pieces of throughout the record. With the full record in mind, this track is absolutely devastating. Blunt is a man deeply conflicted from the breakup the album is inspired by. In his attempts to sound like he’s over it, his voice says otherwise. He knows how badly he’s messed up, but he can’t fully admit it. It’s a track that breaks me down with every listen and it might be my favorite song of all-time, give it and the rest of these tracks a listen, as Blunt is one of the best artists working today.