Jake Bugg: Everything That’s Wrong in Modern Music
ONCE upon a time, rock and pop lived together in perfect harmony and music fans didn’t feel the need to pick sides. Then, at some point in the ’80s, indie music came and spoiled it all, taking up the same opinion as people like Morrissey, who needlessly hit out at anything that was vaguely popular.
In 2014, too many White Artists With A Guitar (WAWAGs, pronounced Waaaaaaaah Wags) feel the need to hit out against pop music because it makes them feel more authentic when they talk about ‘real music’ and other horsepiss.
The worst of the bunch, Jake Bugg, has dribbled on lazily about the ‘state’ of ‘modern music’. He reckons that manufactured pop bands don’t have any heart or soul.
He says: “Manufactured pop bands, they don’t have any heart, they don’t have any soul. It’s really sad for me, when you work hard at what you do with your guitar, and then you pop the radio on and it’s like some weird trumping sound coming out of it.”
Talking about the lyrics in contemporary pop, he added: “All the lyrics are about one-night stands, holding your glass up and twerking and stuff like that. I know I might sound like a dad, but it’s frustrating to hear people my age going on about stuff like that when, personally, I think there are more important things in the world.”
Of course, what Bugg fails to mention is that he doesn’t sit down and bleed his heart out into his songs, rather, works with a committee of songwriters who help him with his work.
On Bugg’s album, you’ll see writing credits from Crispin Hunt from the Longpigs, as well as Matt Prime who has written songs for Simon Webbe from Blue and Will Young. There’s also Jason Hart who is related to the Lighthouse Family. RIGHT ON, etc.
Naturally, what most ‘real musicians’ won’t admit, is that they’re just as manufactured as any pop band. There’s a story about The Rolling Stones, back in the day, getting make-up ladies to artificially make their clothes dirtier so they looked rougher and more rebellious, without actually having to be rough or a rebel.
And when it comes to bemoaning bands being manufactured, you could easily argue that the Sex Pistols were manufactured by Malcolm McLaren and that The Beatles were moulded by their record company when Parlophone forced the sacking of Pete Best in favour of Ringo Starr.
Complaining about the lyrical content of records is, without doubt, one of the most trite things a musician can do. In Bugg’s case, bemoaning people putting their glasses up while singing “the best people I could ever have met, skin up a fat one, hide from the Feds” and “one Friday night I took a pill or maybe two”, seems a bit hypocritical.
As for ‘more important things in the world’, Bugg has thoroughly failed to address any important issues in the world through his music, focusing more on navel gazing and trying to pass himself off as someone who maintains an otherness from society, unable to simultaneously represent it or accurately talk about.
Looking towards the popular mainstream music for answers is bizarre too. Pop has always dealt in the elevation above drudgery, problems, turmoil and heartbreak. There’s a reason Friday nights are designed for ‘Twist And Shout’ or ‘Good Times’ rather than ‘Eve of Destruction’ or ‘A Hard Rain’s-a Gonna Fall’. That’s not to say modern hip hop and R&B doesn’t deal with personal struggles either. You’ll find more savage indictments of people being repressed and browbeaten in hip hop, where the struggle is palpable, than you will ever discover through some whinging WAWAGs.
The fact is, while pop is multi-faceted and diverse, made up of all manner of views and backgrounds, with a good diversity of men and women, straight and other and all the colours the world has to offer, Jake Bugg represents a regressively macho whitewash where all that is required for a feeling of importance, relevance and authenticity, is simply a guitar and chip on your shoulder.
Jake Bugg can bemoan modern music all he likes, but if he wants to correct a dire pop-cultural problem in 2014, he might look at himself, the scene he’s in and other rock musicians first, and have the backbone to actually attack the scene he’s in because, and there’s no doubt about this, indie music is in the worst shape it has ever been in and more disingenuous than ever.
Bugg, it’s over to you and your team of songwriters.