james blake digital cover
Photo: Max Montgomery / EUPH.

James Blake — The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face

James Blake isn’t holding back from his constant delivery of emotionally driven hits in 2020. After the release of his EP, Before, Blake dropped his single, “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face.”

His recent rendition of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” is proof that Blake doesn’t shy away from covering iconic Black artists — just like the recent cover of Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed” in September. Earlier this year, in an Instagram livestream, Blake hinted at the release of his newest cover after playing it.

The first verse begins with powerful words, “The first time / ever I saw your face / I thought the sun rose in your eyes.” Although Blake isn’t responsible for writing this song, the choice to cover it was clearly intentional. His discography is full of emotionally driven ballads that often entice its listener to explore their feelings. The first verse finishes with the lyrics, “And the moon and the stars / were the gifts you gave / to the dark / and the endless skies.” 

The following two verses are the spellbinding continuation of an ode to a potential lover. The second verse begins with, “The first time / ever I kissed your mouth / I felt the earth move in my hand.” The words flow out of Blake’s mouth so eloquently as he continues the second and third verse, since it is assumed that Blake is dedicating his emotionally packed words throughout the song to his lover and partner, Jameela Jamil.

With the title, “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” it is believable that Blake’s and Flack’s voices are admiring their muse from a distance. The song concludes with Blake reminiscing about his muse’s face with him uttering, “your face,” three last times.

Throughout the entire track, Blake shares profound vocals to accompany emotionally eloquent piano notes to create an unmatched ambiance.

Watch a performance of the song below on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.