I was on a train, in the middle of a mini existential crisis (they come along every so often) staring at the zombie-like faces of rush hour office workers. Then through the depths of my chasm-like miseries (usually fuelled by the lack of alien invasions/zombie apocalypses/live threatening situations which I deludedly perceive to be fun) my ears made out the sweet sound of someone who could totally relate.
18-year-old Jake Bugg writes with concision and sincerity that is impressive for someone so young. He sings of the gritty urban estate life – a prime breeding ground for feeling empty, if there was any – that he was surrounded by throughout his life, and as a result pens lyrics that hit home perfectly to any fellow existential crisis sufferer. In Trouble Town Bugg sings of being “stuck in speed bump city/where the only thing that’s pretty is the thought of getting out”. These lyrics could correlate to anyone who is “stuck in a rut”, which is the feeling that, in my humble opinion, lays a foundation for feeling empty.
In Lighting Bolt, Jake retells of his encounters with cynicism in: “chances, people tell you not to take chances…I was starting to agree/then I walked suddenly into the path of a lightning bolt”. I’m not sure what this song is about, but from how I see it, it’s about how negative people can be wrong and how your life can take unexpected turns despite it seeming that nothing is getting better. That’s a pretty nice thought to have when you’re in “my life is a vast wasteland of pointlessness” mode.
Finally, in Two Fingers, Bugg recalls his tough past but basically sings a victory song of how he made it out of a rough place in his life. “So I hold two fingers up to yesterday/light a cigarette and wish the world away/I got out, I got out/I’m alive and I’m here to stay”. Now those are the words of a survivor. I take that to be about how, after you get out of your stint of apathy, you should move on and take joy in the fact that life is better.
Man, this guy is good. Perhaps we should stop listening to songs with lyrics like “let’s party every second of the day” or “sex with you is so fun” BECAUSE MAYBE THEY’RE CONTRIBUTING TO WHY WE THINK LIFE SUCKS. HELLO. I mean, if we as a society are going to place so much emphasis on sex, money and partying, no wonder life seems such a bore. It’s because we’re not tapping into the deeper stuff that life is about, like bettering yourself and your situation and getting over hardships.
Bugg ends Two Finger with this outro: “hey, hey it’s fine/hey, hey it’s fine/ I left it behind” and the final few strums of the guitar wrap the song up perfectly. It gives me the feeling that everything is going to be okay, and that bad times pass. Bugg inspires me with his music. If that isn’t the sign of a good songwriter, then I don’t know what is.
Check Jake Bugg out! Here’s Two Fingers: