Nottingham’s own musical prodigy, Jake Bugg, has released his third studio album, On My One, at the tender age of 22. The album’s title derives from the Nottingham saying for ‘on my own’, which works well with the fact that Clifton-native Bugg was much more involved in producing this album than with his first two.
The album was mostly self-produced, and the majority of negative reviews focus on this fact; deeming his work to have a derivational quality, be it from his own previous work or the music of others. His second album, Shangri La, also received mixed reviews.
The ‘third album’ is often considered a hurdle. It demands originality combined with familiarity to previous albums. It is also difficult for musicians to maintain their fan’s interest. Bugg himself has stated that On My One could “make or break” his career.
“It is fast-paced, with dubious hints of a ‘Madchester’ influence”
On My One’s chilling opening song of the same name is a short but atmospheric track. ‘Gimme the Love’ follows: a breath of fresh air from his usual folky sound. It is fast-paced, with dubious hints of a ‘Madchester’ influence. ‘Love, Hope and Misery’, is not as depressing as it sounds. It is a longing, romantic sounding track that continually changes direction from bittersweet to cool with a loud bass.
On My One is much more diverse and unpredictable than his last two albums. There is a balanced distribution between folk, blues and indie with streaks of pop and rock rhythms. ‘Put Out the Fire’ plays on Bugg as an indie-folk artist. It resonates with ‘Trouble Town’ from his debut album.
Though Bugg’s voice often sounds profoundly folky (much dissimilar to his everyday voice and demeanour), he tackles a new singing style in ‘Ain’t No Rhyme.’ This is possibly the “make or break” moment in the album. For a singer that sounds so distinguished and well suited to indie-folk, it does not fit well (though his efforts to spice things up with this album are generally successful). It’s slightly strange, actually; Bugg attempts to adopt a form of singing similar to that of Jamie T.
“It seems Bugg is trying very hard to draw on his cool-kid-from-the-streets-of-Nottingham image”
It is made even more odd when the following track, ‘Livin’ Up Country’, talks about a girl in Memphis and uses banjo twangs in the background. It seems Bugg is trying very hard to draw on his cool-kid-from-the-streets-of-Nottingham image as the same time as maintaining his status as the young indie-folk music talent that emerged at Glastonbury aged just sixteen.
Though On My One is a decent album, there are a couple of tracks which are a tad lacklustre – like ‘The Love We’re Hoping For.’ As with his self-titled album, there is a dejected track, titled ‘All That’. It’s a beautifully slow and lonely song, but it’s hard to compare to the shattering ‘Broken’. The album is closed with ‘Hold On You’ which doesn’t satisfy in rounding off the album nicely with a striking finish. Bugg’s music has always been one of a kind for his age, talent and voice. However, it feels like his experimentation on On My One is, overall, a bit ‘take it or leave it’.
Read Impact Music’s Track Review of Jake Bugg’s ‘Gimme The Love’ here.