Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Jake Bugg is Beyoncé

When I first heard Jake Bugg, I felt both elated and embarrassed. Not embarrassed to enjoy his songs, but embarrassed more at how cliché it is for me to like him and his music. He looks sounds and plays the part of the young English turk to a fault. The clothes, the hair, the thick dialect and nasal tone lamenting the troubles of small town life and big dreams of getting away... they all fit everything you have come to expect from a young Englishman playing pure and simple guitar music. With some rock and some folk, but undeniably 100% UK bred, Jake Bugg reminds me of what a sucker I am usually am for all of the above.

From what I have heard and read this is exactly the problem for the UK indie/music intelligentsia. In context, Jake Bugg's music and persona are too close to home, too obvious and an overt play for the middle. But here's the rub... these same indie/music intelligentsia folks fall all over themselves to praise Beyoncé at any opportunity. 

I'll admit, I don't care for Beyoncé's music. I think it's lacking nuance and interest. I think her style is bad, and she's nowhere near as worthy of praise as her former Destiny's Child partner, Kelly Rowland in both looks and vocal talents. And it's not that I dislike pop music or R&B. Give me Amerie over Beyoncé any day. 

But what I have come to realize is that it's all about context. I'm sure that those same British critics can think of tons of young indie guitar guys more "deserving" of praise that Jake Bugg, just like I can do the same with regards to Beyoncé. But that doesn't make her less exciting for them, or him to me. It's in the ear of the beholder. 

So see what you think and choose as you like, coming from wherever you are.

As an aside this is also very much how I have to react/explain my over the moon love for Oasis to my snotty British music nerd friends. It's one thing to be a Brit who loves them, but it's a whole different proposition to fall for them while living in the middle of Texas in 1994. Similarly, British folks who try to impress me by knowing ZZ Top, should realize that, in my world, everyone does.

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