The Newest British Invasion: Jake Bugg
Throughout history, British culture has made its way over to the states and made a huge impact. It makes sense, considering that's how this country began. But I'm not just talking about the Red Coats. Some of the great icons in American culture trace their roots back to the U.K. Soccer, motorcycles, tea, Hitchcock, fish and chips, and of course the Fab Four, all come from across the pond. While he may not be the next John Lennon, Jake Bugg is the newest British phenomenon to break into American pop culture. Considering the fact that his self-titled debut album charted number 1 in the UK, it's hard to believe that the newest British music sensation isn't that well known in the US (yet). I'm sure most of you have heard his most popular song, Lightning Bolt, in the background of this Gatorade commercial:
Well, that's how I discovered my newest music obsession.
He's been called "a young Bob Dylan," and while I don't whole-heartedly agree with that statement, I see where those people are coming from. The two share a somewhat nasal tone and sing folky rock songs riddled with nostalgia. What amazes me most is the fact that he's only 20. To say Bugg is an old soul would be an understatement. His influences draw from of the greats: Hendrix, Young, and Don Mclean, to name a few.
What’s great about Bugg is that he's the kind of rare artist that you and your die-hard 60’s Rock ‘N Roll loving Dad can both fall in love with. Sticking to a mostly acoustic sound, Bugg shows he's truly mastered the art of folk guitar. Paired with his unique tone and thoughtful lyrics, his songs are truly irresistible. While his slower songs are heartfelt and honest, Bugg truly shines on his more upbeat tracks like "Lightning Bolt," "Slumville Sunrise," and "There's a Beast and We All Feed It." His songs tell stories of love and loss and get pretty deep into the flaws of society. While these topics might seem a little heavy and somber, he counters them with songs about a night when he “took a pill” and fantastically detailed stories of other people’s lives. His true skill comes in writing lyrics that describe emotions that many can relate to, but describing them in a way we would never think to. In “Simple as This,” he describes his attempts to find meaning in the world today and how they’ve let him down. The song is lyrically one of my favorites of his. One of my favorite lines is “Travelled to each ocean's end/Saw all seven wonders, trying to make some sense/Memorized the mantra Confucius said/But it only let me down.” Such profound lyrics aren’t hard to find in Bugg’s songs. He sings about things that are important and is completely honest and vulnerable with the listener.