#5 – Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg/Shangri La
The Neo-Folk Rocker, Jake Bugg, played Glastonbury, signed with a label, then turned 18 and opened for Noel Gallagher before releasing his soon-to-be chart-topping self-titled debut album in the UK. So why all the fuss? He’s no slouch with the guitar, but his age defying vocal strength and observation skills are what separate Jake Bugg from the other guys with a guitar in their hands. Look no further than the show-stopper “Broken,” a song that would crumble without his strong, smooth voice soaring at the center.
On his follow up, Shangri La, his observation skills have sharpened further. “There’s A Beast And We All Feed It” ignites a furious pace, unrelenting for the first three tracks. He sneers at social media in “Beast,” before delivering what feels like a romantic eulogy to his hometown in “Slumville Sunrise.” “What Doesn’t Kill You” shifts from fast talking verses to an anthem-like chorus with ease, rousing all who suffer to charge ahead towards the perks of survival and experience. This second iteration of Bugg soars to new heights with the meta ballad “A Song About Love,” and the relationship retrospective “Kitchen Table,” which feels like it could have been stolen from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. He challenges the notion of love and our perceptions of romance, while lamenting the arduous task of maintaing a sturdy relationship as its participants shift and change like tectonic plates.
You can sing along in the car or put him on as the party gathers and grows. When the music swells and his voice spills over, don’t be surprised when the room hushes to hear this exciting new voice command the attention it deserves. -Stanton
Other accolades: #12 on Rolling Stone