July’s Album: Jake Bugg

For July I have chosen the debut album for Jake Bugg. I admit that I caught the train on this one a  it late; a year after most. Basically I thought that he was just another label puppet that was a flash in the pan. This time around I’ll admit that I was wrong. After hearing a couple tracks that I liked I decided to give the album a go and I’m happy I did.

There is an often comparison between Bugg and Bob Dylan. This I can see but have tended to like him a bit more to Paul Simon.

The track that earned my attention was Seen It All, and grew from there. Jake Bugg can sing and can write brilliant songs as well. He’s versatile in how he approaches songs. Sure he sounds like a few legends out there but what’s wrong with that? You have to pull your influences from somewhere.

I like Jake Bugg. Apparently he’s working with Rick Ruben on his next album which will be a good match. In the mean time I hope you enjoy his first offering as much as I did.

12 comments

  1. David Allison

    I’m struggling with our Jake. Impressed with the nice earthy autobiographical nature of his lyrics, bit like early Arctic Monkeys, but the music – well, it’s fine, but it feels SO derivative. Anyway, I need to spend some more time with him, perhaps it’ll open up to me more as an album.

  2. misterstory

    Im struggling too. I have listened again today and I do have to make myself keep listening.

    I think the album is strongest when he applies stylistic pastiche but lyrically he is his own man (Seen it All) … its weakest when it is musical and lyrical pastiche which is most of it for me. The overly (early) Dylan-esque songs make me think ‘wow, wish I was listening to Dylan’.

    It does however raise some interesting questions – I like Tallest Man on Earth, should I be equally harsh with him? – Was I ever going to like this given the ‘industry puppet’ tag that all of us are totally aware of?’

    I’ve perhaps not given this enough time but given my opening comment and my limited listening time, I find it hard to justify.

    Sorry but I seem to be a bit down on …. well, everything at the moment!

  3. whyohwhyohwhy

    As I’m away I’ll not pick this up until I’m back, but it’s worth stating for the record I’m going to be approaching this with a hint of bias. Not Grimes-like bias, but bias nonetheless. Everything I’ve read and heard up to now smacks of ‘industry-driven “authenticity”‘. I don’t doubt the guy is geniune, and his interviews have been pretty decent, but it’s clear that he’a s been pushed into this position by weight of the majors, and that’s only going to colour my view of the album.

    But… and it’s a but, I’m going to approach it with open eyes, as much as possible. I hated Grimes when I heard it, and it grated because she was so fucking irritating. Having given up on it, 6 months without a listen, and it’s really a different album. I’m going to try not to ruin this one the same way. Not at first anyway 😉

  4. nolankane706

    I’m liking this conversation. I chose this album for this reason… and I knew there would be some push back.

    Where is the line that we like or don’t like an artist. When I approached this with low expectations I was impressed. With that I stayed away from this album for almost a year because of the industry puppet that I thought Jake Bugg was.

    I hadn’t noticed that in ways you could like him to Tallest Man On Earth. I think this is a fair shout.

  5. misterstory

    It is an interesting one. Tallest Man on Earth was heavily criticised for being too Dylan-Esque. However, I have plaid the Wild Hunt album to death and once you do, the Dylan comparison almost seems irrelevant. Tallest Man’s songs are very very strong and I think this strength is lacking in Jake Bugg’s album …. but this comparison is probably unfair as I’ve not given it the same chance.

    The thing is, you can find reasons to slate almost anything. Yeezus has had amazing reviews and horrific reviews. And nothing inbetween. Music should create this divide. I don’t trust it when everyone loves something. As a musician, if you’re not pissing someone off there has to be something wrong?

  6. David Allison

    I don’t think Bugg’s a fake or a record company stooge or anything like that. He’s obviously a genuine kid with a bit of talent who’s been picked up because of that. I just think there’s a tendency in the music press to overplay the talent of a provincial lad with a bit of ability. It happened with the Arctic Monkeys’ first album. Do you remember those ridiculous articles wondering if Alex Turner had really written his own lyrics because they were so – ooh! – literate. Apart from the wildly offensive condescension of them not being able to believe a working class kid could write half-decent lyrics, I thought they also way overestimated how good his lyrics were. I mean, they were FINE and they definitely had a bit of autobiographical edge to them. But they could also be unbearably naff (the Montagues and Capulets line in ‘….Dancefloor’ for example).

    Same is true of Bugg. He has a nice turn of phrase, but he can also write some pretty tired, trite songwritery stuff – both lyrics and tunes. He’s got the energy of youth and he writes about where he’s from and I like that. But it’s not enough for me to want to spend any more time with him than a few spins of his disc. He could grow as an artist, but I fear this might be as broad as his palette will ever be. Be interesting to see.

  7. whyohwhyohwhy

    It’s been a while…

    I’m still jury out on this one if I’m honest. I realise I know quite a few of the tracks on here already, and that’s cool. I actually think that there’s a lot to like about him and the album, but the bits where they’re all crackled-up, and he’s trying to just sound like it was recorded in 1962 in Tenessee, it just doesn’t work for me. The stuff I like is where it’s more modern, it’s not trying to be something else, it’s just a guy writing about his teenage years up north, and it feels truthful. But quite a bit of the album doesn’t feel that way to me. It just feels like he’s – while there’s a ton of talent, don’t get me wrong – verging on pastiche. Maybe that’s why a lot of journos and musos in the 40s and 50s got excited.

    I think he’s got a future, but I struggle with the moments where this album feels, well, contrived. And I don’t mean that in a nasty way, it’s just overly got the low-fi, 60s vibe on it when it really doesn’t need it.

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