According to my ears, the best music comes from across the pond. The British bands and singers are just simply a step above the rest. Some of my all-time favorites include The Beatles, John Lennon’s solo career, Queen, and Radiohead. I consider the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, the greatest vocalist of all time with John Lennon right behind him. On the other hand, I consider Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, to have the most unique and haunting voice I’ve yet heard.
My point here is that it comes as no shock to discover an up and coming talent that hails from across the pond that has quickly become one of my favorite musical acts. I am talking about nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. Many have compared his voice to that of Bob Dylan, who incidentally, is very much American.
He began playing guitar and writing his own songs at the tender age of twelve. And it’s no surprise that one of his favorite bands is The Beatles.
The Nottingham-born Bugg released his first studio album self-titled on October 15th, 2012. The album has fourteen tracks and most of the songs are quite short. The shortest is the last song on the album, “Fire,” at 1:43. The rest are around the two minute mark or so with only, “Broken,” going over four minutes.
Even if the songs aren’t long affairs, the content is still marvelous. His album marks one of the few times I can listen to any song on the album and not say one bad thing about any selection. All of the songs listed have some worth or something I enjoy about them. Certainly, I enjoy some songs over others, but the overall charm of Bugg shines through in each track listed.
For instance, in the song, “Simple As This,” there’s a more folksy flare to it than something like, “Broken,” which is somber, graceful, and beautiful. As one reviewer, Barry Nicolson, put it, “’Broken’ is a song of such towering beauty and elegance; it boggles the mind that a scruffy teenager barely old enough to shave could have written it.”
Contrarily, there are songs like, “Trouble Town” or “Lightning Bolt,” where the guitar and lyrics come fast and one can’t help but find their toes-a-tapping.
I enjoy music that is pleasant to my ears, which Bugg’s music is in abundance, but I also appreciate powerful and thought-provoking lyrics, which Bugg also provides. In perhaps my favorite song on the album, “Slide,” Bugg says, “Whoa…Don’t know how to take it in, is love just suffering? Because I can see where the chapter ends.”
I often find myself listening to his full album on repeat. His voice is soulful, folksy and engaging. Some have not only said he has a voice reminiscent of Bob Dylan, but that he is the next Bob Dylan. I think it’s too soon to know about that given Dylan’s accolades and five-decade long career. However, if his first album at such a young age is any indication of what the future holds for this British up-start, the future looks quite promising indeed.
Here’s a song selection for you to get a taste of not only his unique sound, but also his lyrical prowess: