James Blake says the “sad boy” label is “unhealthy and problematic”

Written by Tyler Jenke on 27th May, 2018
James Blake says the “sad boy” label is “unhealthy and problematic”

English electronic musician James Blake recently returned with his latest single, ‘Don’t Miss It’. However, Blake has taken issue with many of the reviews of his track, claiming that those who label his music as being created by a “sad boy” are perpetuating an “unhealthy and problematic” culture.

When James Blake released his track ‘Don’t Miss It’ on Friday, the usually reserved musician gained a number of reviews for the track which seemed to boil the track down to being nothing more than “sad boy” music.

In Pitchfork‘s review of the track, it was noted that the tune is “another beautifully brutal song to add to Blake’s large catalog of sumptuous sad boy music.” Now, it appears James Blake has had enough of this sort of thing.

Taking to Twitter yesterday, the musician posted an open letter asking for society to stop minimising the feelings of people, and labelling music which allows emotions to be explored in a negative manner.


“I’m overwhelmed by the lovely response to ‘Don’t Miss It’ today,” he wrote on Twitter. “But I can’t help but notice, as I do whenever I talk about my feelings in a song, that the words “sad boy” are used to describe it.”

“I’ve always found that expression to be unhealthy and problematic when used to describe men just openly talking about their feelings,” he continued. “To label it at all, when we don’t ever question women discussing the things they are struggling with, contributes to the ever disastrous historical stigmatisation of men expressing themselves emotionally.”

“We are already in an epidemic of male depression and suicide. We don’t need any further proof that we have hurt men with our questioning of their need to be vulnerable and open.”

“It is only ever a good thing to talk about what is on your mind.”


“Please don’t allow people who fear their own feelings to ever subliminally shame you out of getting anything off your chest, or identifying with music that helps you,” he continued. “There is no great victory in machismo and bravado in the end. The road to mental health and happiness, which I feel so passionately about, is paved with honesty.”

“Sorry for this “sad boy” letter, but I’ve seen enough friends drown in this, and almost drowned in it myself because I bottled everything up, afraid of being seen as weak or soft. I now see the great strength, and benefit for those around you in actually opening up.”

If you or somebody you care for needs help or information about depression, suicide, anxiety, or mental health issues, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Check out James Blake’s ‘Don’t Miss It’:



The article was originally published on Tone Deaf

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