“James” – Oscar and the Wolf’s New Song
“James” is the first single by Colombie since 2018’s “On Fire,” and the comeback couldn’t be happening at a better time. The signature sound of Oscar and the Wolf, European electro-pop flare with lo-fi R&B sensibilities, is particularly in fashion amid releases like Justin Bieber’s yearning, groovy album “Justice” and the poppish genre agnosticism of artists like The 1975 and Dominic Fike.
“James” falls nicely in line with this mainstream that has been defined by such artists in the last few years, including Colombie himself. The sprawling new single, which runs for just under five and a half minutes, is driven forward by a consistent pounding drumbeat and takes on an ethereal feel with the dreamy guitar and bass that weave around Colombie’s lilted vocals.
The song builds after each verse, with Colombie’s backing vocals growing more prominent alongside Oasis-esque guitar fills until the last minute unleashes the tension with impassioned, beautiful sing-shouts and a fuzzy guitar solo.
“James” is a beautiful, wavy, bedroom pop jam that sounds like it was created exactly in the way Colombie says it was. The Oscar and the Wolf mastermind says the entire song came to him in a dream, à la Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks.” Colombie woke up with a completed song in his head, from vocals to drums to guitar.
The song’s title comes from an equally moving place, named in honor of Colombie’s nephew James, who was born the same day that the single was recorded.
Oscar and the Wolf – “James” Music Video
In the accompanying music video, Colombie and friends live out their own coming-of-age movie that the song sounds so catered to. They goof around in a convertible cruising down a beautiful road at sunset, they stand in a foggy field seance-style, and they crash a formal-looking dance with a synchronized routine of their own that alternates between the ballroom and the field after dark.
The Drive and Passion of Oscar and the Wolf
Oscar and the Wolf has already enjoyed a successful international career, flaunting hundreds of thousands of streaming service listeners, tens of millions of song streams, and critical acclaim for the 2014 debut album “Entity.” Colombie could easily rest on his laurels, but rather he released a comeback single with all the right pieces to catapult him back into the mainstream.
After several listens of “James,” I find myself unable to hear it enough, clicking the replay button and taking in the beautiful arrangement and captivating music video aesthetics over and over again. Whether you’re a bedroom pop fanatic looking for a new favorite song, a returning Oscar and the Wolf fan, or just can’t look away from the Belgian superstar’s heartthrob good looks, “James” is the perfect new addition to any playlist.