Sunday, 14 October 2012

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg


If you're living in the UK then I’m almost certain you know of Nottingham singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. The BBC hype machine is a powerful thing and when word gets around, the album will get around. Advertising has become a major part in revealing new artists to the world and Jake Bugg's PR certainly needs credit for his drastic rise from a nobody to a somebody. If I hear an advert for Jake Bugg on YouTube one more time, I'm going to go crazy. This is Jake Bugg's debut album featuring his working class lyrics and folk-based instrumentals which aren’t so folk and more so thrown together guitar/bass and drums. You’ll read about that in just a minute.

Before listening to Bugg's debut album, I already have an inclination to what this album will be like. I've seen Bugg live and I’ve got to say, I wasn't too impressed with either his musical ability or his lyrical side, and neither was Miss Mitchell who has strong views on British artists that attempt to emulate American singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s. Many of these tracks have been released way before this albums release date, those being the singles and they’re the best tracks on the album, because they're the singles, obviously this was going to happen.

It was also incredibly predictable that "LightningBolt" would be track one. It opens with three chords and expands to four chords a little later on; I can already sense the lack of musical talent after five seconds. It's not that the chord progression is original either, you might notice similarities throughout this album, and that’s always going to happen when you're limited skilfully. Creedence Clearwater Revival might want to take action against Bugg, seeing as Lightning Bolt takes the exact same chords and progression as "Bad Moon Rising", and so it begins. Ignoring the clear lack of musical qualities, Lightning Bolt does have some nice lyrics and a respectable dissonant but extremely high pitched vocal by Bugg.

"Two Fingers" is by far his best track to date. The lyrics are presentable, they're personal and they have qualities that many singer-songwriters don't have. The chorus is the most exciting part of Two Fingers and it kicks in pretty suddenly. One thing Bugg may have done is bring bad publicity to his hometown Clifton; we all think it's a shit hole now. The bass riff is one of the key features, taking centre stage over the rather weak acoustic guitar. Bugg has a multi-layered and heavily effected voice, fitting because live his vocal was average at best. "Taste It" continues with his song writing skills. The instrumental is a little predictable and unoriginal. Using basic chords is not a good thing, especially when you're signed to a major record label, I expect some sort of skill otherwise put someone else in the composition department. In terms of sound, I’m struggling to define Jake Bugg. This isn't what I would class as folk music, and I certainly wouldn't call it country. This album is contemporary rock for 90s Oasis fans.

The question critics should be asking is 'what does he bring to the table?' Because I can't hear anything that grants him his break in music. There are literally thousands of skilled artists out there that fail, and Jake Bugg makes it because of his song writing and because he has a 'Dylan-esque' voice. Don't believe what we tell you; question everything and make your own mind up about whether or not you 'like' an artist. What is it about Jake Bugg's music that attracts you? You can’t rely on the NME giving this album 9/10, because that’s not the real world. As you may hear in the following few tracks, "Seen It All" and "Simple As This". Both tracks use similar instrumentation, with the later standing out as a clear Simon & Art Garfunkel rip-off. It's not influence when you literally take apart the acoustic guitar riff, the structure and the withdrawn vocal.

"Country Song" is one of his sweetest tracks. Yeah, the vocal is a little overpowering and forward, but overall the track works. Musically, it's basic and takes the finger-picking style to a level of averageness. It's short and that’s the way I would want it to be because it's quite boring. I didn't want to use the 'b' word in this review, but Bugg has earned it. "Broken" features a mass array of reverb on the percussion, the guitar and... Well pretty much everything is drenched in reverb. I've heard him play this live and it sounded horrible because of how clear and incredibly flat it sounded, so I can see why the reverb has been applied here.

One of his highlights and pre-release singles is "Trouble Town". Right, scrap the 60s effect, it's pretentious. Bugg doesn't need to hide behind these awful effects; he has a good enough voice. The chords are yet again basic and the chorus sees Bugg reach his most annoying moment on his screechy high pitched vocal. "Balladof Mr. Jones" is a much better effort. It's a little to similar to The Beatles if you ask me, however Bugg doesn’t take anything from them progression and structure wise, as far as I know. The track has extensive instrumentation which makes it one of my favourite tracks on the album. One track that doesn’t feature on my list of two positive tracks is the Richard Ashcroft influenced "Slide". I'm not a fan of the basic chord progression and his reverberated vocal. the verse sounds like The Verve and the chorus sounds like Fleet Foxes.

"Someone Told Me" is inexcitable and flat. The vocal isn't powerful or dynamic in any way; it's just quiet and forced. The progression is predictable after the first listen and it wears off almost instantly. He has also taken a few finger-picking structures from Simon & Garfunkel, again. "Note To Self" is a brighter track with a tiny bit of strings. The lyrics and vocal progression sounds a lot like Lightning Bolt. It's sort of a melancholy, sad version of Lightning Bolt that sounds like Vashti Bunyan - "Glow Worms" and "William" by Sibylle Baier, not to mention every Fleet Foxes intro from their debut album.

The final two tracks "Someplace" and "Fire" are both slow and average. The latter is another attempt to sound 60s or in fact, pre-60s. needless to say it's a poor attempt that’s laughable. I'm not mocking Bugg at all; I just don't think this is the way forward. If I want to listen to this kind of music, I'll listen to that kind of music. You could say that Bugg is more of a fan, than a candidate to take the reigns of British music. Now, as I’ve listened to the album four/five times, he sounds amateurish. His voice is different, and he has something to say and he's doing it so congratulations to him for getting to this position. Somehow I think the help of Noel Gallagher, NME and other big name players have put Bugg way ahead of his actual capabilities. Wait two years and I'm sure Bugg will release an album of worthwhile material, but for now I need to delete this album and forget about Jake Bugg. Fleet Foxes are showing me how poor Jake Bugg actually is; you should do the same and listen to Fleet Foxes, if that's what you want to do of course. If you don't, then go ahead and listen to Noel Gallagher and NME.
~Eddie

4.1

23 comments:

  1. Terribly written article. Its a rip off of every other critic who writes about artists ripping people off. Try and and be more original next time. Your writing is predictable and unoriginal. I should delete this and wait 2 years for you to become better as a critic. Its hard to define your writing. I'm thinking uninteresting and shitty. Real critics should take action against you for ripping them off.

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    1. seriously??? such harsh words on such a talented young kid!!.... who hired you for this job?

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  2. I wrote this befote the album was released and before I had even read any form of 'review' of the album.

    Just sayin'.

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    1. You just totally shit on an 18 year old kid for doing good in music and doing what he loves. You feel good about that?

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    2. Being in music means that some people are going to say good and bad things, i somehow doubt that jake cares what eddie says and eddie is entitled to his opinion. lol

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  3. Yes I feel good about being honest. He may be doing well for himself and doing what he loves,but that doesnt reflect the musical aspects does it?

    I picked up on the obvious flaws and gave him cred for his voice. I look for authenticity and all I found was re-hashed and average tracks.

    Everything written here is deserved and honest, if you don't like it, then don't read it.

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    1. I agree, and you may as well say it depends on your taste in music... I can't stand him when he's on the radio, I have to switch to sth else (and haters had better not tell me I have a bad taste in music just because of that,it will really crack me up).

      After finding his songs irritating I came to find that he also badmouths other artists. Now I need to say that I wouldn't be inspired to even try and like him... his character doesn't interest me, hence what he has to say doesn't interest me. After all his lyrics are too average. And being an artist myself, I know that there is a difference between being an artist with a warm heart and generosity and kindness from being the spoiled kid who managed to get attention.

      A usual reply to my comment would be, who the f___ are you and why aren't you famous if you are that great? Well firstly I haven't said I am but also, guys, there are so many talented people out there who are better than JB and not famous. Luckily most famous people are at least appreciative of fellow artists. Jake Bugg isn't. I find his album uninspired and if at all inspired, then I don't see it. Like many others don't. I would call him objectively untalented and that's about it.

      PS: I always wish that poorer yet talented kids could have the same musical education so they would shine.

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    2. Perhaps my Shangri La review may be of interest: www.musicreviewdatabase.co.uk/2013/11/jake-bugg-shangri-la.html
      Jake Bugg is still developing, and even though his debut is pretty poor, and the follow-up is plain, the musicians with him and writers alongside him can tailor him to a very specific popular audience - though give him time and his output probably will improve.

      Perhaps you would like to send your music in sometime to: musicreviewdatabase@hotmail.co.uk

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  4. I don't think this blog is very fair, it's the simplicity of Jake's music that makes it good. If you don't like him, or his genre, I don't see why you would sit at your computer giving him no credit for his music at all? What is slagging an 18 year old boy off going to make you achieve? Absolutely nothing, whereas Bugg has achieved so much this early on in his career.
    Jake Bugg deserves a lot more credit for his music that you give, don't like his music? Don't write about it. Jake doesn't write music for only you so don't waste your money on other acts to come

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  5. I think I'm being incredibly fair towards Jakey. I give everything relevant a review/exposure, whether I like it or not - that's the point... I'm reviewing stuff that I like and don't like. That's the point of a review... Trust me; I'm not the only person who has wasted their time listening to such simple minded music. Folk based music used to be for the smart intellectual types, this is a breed of stupidity I can't fathom. It's a very poor album, in folk and singer-song writing. There are so many decent/good artists out there that make £0 for their albums; Jake has made plenty because of the hype generated from you know who.

    I love how people are so defensive over a negative review. If you don't like what you're reading, then fine.. I'm not going to please you. I don't like Jake Bugg's music. I couldn’t care less about Jake himself, his music is shit so it doesn't matter if he's 18 or from the slums of Nottingham.

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  6. They say 'don't say anything unless it's better than silence.' I suggest you get a new hobby as this is very bitter. Jake Buggs work is not 'stupid' as you say, in fact, you are the stupid one sitting giving him a bitter review and adding in snide comments as replies. Oh and you don't have to please me, you're actually just pissing the majority of people who've read this post off as you can tell from the previous comments. I love how people have the bitterness of new music acts! Maybe Jake Bugg is shit, but how's about you give him more credit than 'he's an alright singer' and you'll gain a little bit more respect from 'you know who' :)

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  7. Why am I the stupid one for giving him a bitter review? The facts are right there in the review as to why it's a bitter review. I'll give the album the credit it deserves, he's an alright singer. Also, you don't understand the 'you know who' reference and you don't understand that this is a review of the music and not Jake Bugg as himself or as an 'act'.

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  8. I didn't say that you were stupid. You do not give him any credit. Saying he's an alright singer is NOT giving him credit. I understand everything you're saying fine thank you. Such great music legends have passed and Jake is trying to recreate their music in a mix. I suggest you listen to the previews before you buy the album and leave the review to someone else, save your money if you don't like it.

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  9. Well then I suggest Jake tries to be original instead of recreating music.

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  10. I'm interested to see where you think Bugg has ripped the chords of Bad Moon Rising. The chords are not the same. It also bears very little similarity to the song.. Lightning Bolt does not use a D Chord.

    Otherwise a well written and interesting review showing a pretty great knowledge of music, I think you're absolutely spot on about Bugg (I do not dislike his music, find some of it rather enjoyable in fact, but I simply cannot fathom why he is so famous, he's quite forgettable) but your ideas of where he's ripped music from seem a bit off.

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    1. It's more about the progression, and as how the Gaye estate have their lawyers out now - the feel / vibe. Bugg has been sharing similiarities, most of it simple influences - but more so than not, he's using the past to reflect his present without reshaping, like a hand-me-down bag without your own stickers or stitchings = Chumbawamba's The Boy Bands Have Won. Bugg's new stuff is heavily reliant on an American sound, and a certain British rock group as you may hear ringing through by critics - like myself.
      Glad you liked it!

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  11. God forbid we get to hear an artist who writes his own songs, doesn't have to have a freak show behind him when he plays live and captures the hearts and minds of a widespread audience around the world. His music tells a story and creates emotion real people can relate to. The second album obviously shows a Hollywood Producer influence but the self titled debut is pure genius. Let's not over think it shall we...

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  12. You make me sick! If you want your kids to grow up on Justin Beiber and one direction you carry on as you are. Your as bad as Simon Cowell and should be held accountable for the demise in real artists and musicians.

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    1. Please don't caregorise us with Cowell / 1D - read our Discovery section.

      http://www.musicreviewdatabase.co.uk/2012/03/pop-corner-one-direction-up-all-night.html

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