Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2006

You're Beautiful by James Blunt

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A simple touching song from a refreshing if one-hit wonder.

Song: You're Beautiful
Artist: James Blunt
Album: The Bedlam Sessions
Songwriter: James Blunt
Producer: Kat Armour-Brown & Linda Perry
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Concept
A sudden glance romance that got away.

Lyric
A chance encounter on a subway train haunts the singer who would have fallen in love if he could have. Not the world's greatest lyric, but the concept is fresh and the words capture the singer's unrequited feelings.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.

You're beautiful, it's true.

I saw your face in

a crowded place,

And I don't know what to do,

'Cause I'll never be with you.

Groove
An 8th note feel with a 16th note overlay gives this song a gentle push which mirrors the gentle if unrealized romantic feelings of the singer.

Melody
A memorable melody if there ever was one, the main reason this song is a hit. Great shape in the line with a few leaps that are easy to repeat. The chorus is an octave higher in register than the verse.

Harmony
Simple major diatonic triads mostly I IV and V with just enough of the emotional vi chord to give the song the pathos it needs. No surprises, but its simplicity delivers the message effectively. The chords move twice as fast in the chorus as in the verse.

Structure
Only 2 song sections.

Signature Intro AB Signature AB-solo-B form.

Verse-Chorus Verse-Chorus-Break-Chorus-Tag.

Easy but not too easy to follow.

Signature
Lyrical guitar in the intro sets up the romance that follows

Production
Simple production, the guitar line and strings in the background flank the vulnerable ache in the vocals. The song is so basic it doesn't need much production, and what is there augments rather than distracts

Performance
A refreshingly simple soft touching honest vocal. No bells or whistles needed.

Predicted Longevity
With such a strong melody, unique vocal performance, fresh concept and subtle presentation, it has all the elements to be around for a while. Also, this is the kind of song that can be covered by many others, another trait for longevity. A Grammy candidate for sure

Album Cover: The Bedlam Sessions

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