Jake Bugg, the two cliched descriptors come together and hold some weight lost from previous overuse. They could still use some qualification, but the new talent from Britain possesses a folksy talent and ear for catchy melodies which suggest an awareness of what’s made music new and exciting for every decade since rock ‘n’ roll first hit the airwaves.
He’s been writing songs and performing since dropping out of school at 16, and his debut album will certainly provide any “Another Brick in the Wall,” angsty teen student with fodder to level at their teachers and parents. Why stay in school when you could be doing this? Bugg’s made it in the music world, he’s living the dream and he’s doing so in such a way that everyone’s talking. His youth shouldn’t define his music, but it brings out people’s innate desire to appreciate the beauty brought about by youth with a little more intensity. There’s a mature evaluation for the likes of the dying Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, but Mozart’s youth is talked about with as much wonder as the former’s deafness and decrepitude.
Is Bugg a wunderkind? Within reason. His self-titled debut album is arguably more ear-catching and immediately accessible than Bob Dylan’s eponymous first release. It brings to mind what Noel Gallagher, another Bugg influence who let the teen open for him on tour, once said about Oasis’s debut Definitely Maybe. “McCartney, Townshend, Richards, my first album’s better than all their first albums. Even they’d admit that.” Who knows if they would, but it’s a quote met with sheepish insecurity from any serious music listener. At the end of the day, he may be right