“Avalanche” by James Arthur
“Avalanche” is an interesting song in the way in which it is structured. And in that regard we’ll say that it’s split into three segments – the premise, the present and the ideology.
As for the premise we can resort to the title, which is symbolic of the idea of “the world collapsing down” around the singer. Now when James asserts such, it is not in the sense of him actually living through some type of catastrophe in the here and now. Rather that statement speaks more to the notion of him possessing an impending sense of doom, one that we come across quite regularly in popular media these days, including music.
Or let’s say, most simply put, that he can perceive some type of harrowing or apocalyptic event transpiring at any moment.
And that brings us to the present. Possessing such thoughts compels the vocalist to harp on his relationship with the addressee, who reads like a romantic interest. And he does so apparently for two reasons.
First the notion of an unpredictable calamity can also be said, as presented, to characterize the volatility of this relationship. And more to the point is that if something life-threatening does go down, he would want to go through it with the addressee.
Or as Arthur puts it, going through hardship with this individual by his side would give him strength to survive and overcome the ordeal. And considering that he already feels “the world collapsing”, in a way they’re even going through such this very moment, as in the perceived high possibility of things going south in an instant.
So in that regard, this is actually one of those ‘I can survive the end of the world as long as I’m with you’ type of tracks.
But then comes the ideology. As you can see, this isn’t a romantic song in the traditional sense of the word. And that uniqueness even extends as far as how the vocalist details his feelings for the addressee. For contrary to how the situation may read above, he doesn’t go about doing so by stating flat-out that he loves her. Rather, as pointed out earlier, this relationship has its issues.
And for him, what this whole belief of the world suddenly coming to an end actually leads to is a desire to mend this relationship expeditiously, i.e. not taking time for granted.
So this is undoubtedly a love song, even if the listener has to go through a bit of fluff before getting to the point.
James Arthur is a former reality TV star – being the winner of the late-2012 edition of The X Factor – who was able to transform that success into a viable pop career. Understandably he has proven most popular in the United Kingdom, being from England himself, where all three of the albums he’s dropped thus far percolating around the top of the UK Albums Chart, and one of them, 2016’s Back from the Edge, actually topping it.
His debut single, Impossible (2012), also topped the UK Singles Chart, as did Arthur’s 2016 outing Say You Won’t Let Go. And that latter track remains his most-successful to date. For example it marks the only time that James has appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, where the song peaked at an impressive 11th place.
Meanwhile, “Avalanche” is the third single from James’s fourth studio album, It’ll All Make Sense in the End. And Columbia Records issued it as such on 13 August 2021.
James contributed to the writing of this song alongside Andrew Jackson and Mark “Duck” Blackwell. And it was also Duck who produced the track.