Jake Bugg’s ‘Shangri La’ Lives up to the Hype

Before the official release of Bugg’s sophomore album Shangri La, he released two singles from the album What Doesn’t Kill You and Slumville Sunrise, which featured a significant development in Bugg’s music from his first debut album Jake Bugg. The two singles were much heavier, rockier, and fast moving; that’s definitely not a bad thing by any means, but I fell in love with Jake Bugg’s music because it felt real, genuine, and I liked the folky acoustic sound in all of his songs. So while I was excited to listen to Shangri La, I was worried it would disappoint my expectations for Bugg. But, it’s amazing and everyone should listen to it.

Jake Bugg received a lot of smack earlier this year for dissing One Direction because they don’t writer their own songs and use their looks to exploit fans of their money. It’s a pretty dangerous move to diss 1D, not only because they’re the biggest and most loved boy band of our time, but also because their fans are absolutely insane, so a lot of people were wondering, if Bugg has the audacity to make such a comment, does he really have the talent to back up his statement? The answer (from a highly biased Jake Bugg fan i.e. me) is a resounding yes.

Shangri La is just as genuine and sincere and eye-opening as Bugg’s debut album. Every track on the album is a window into Bugg’s life, reminding his listeners he’s just an ordinary lad making music because he enjoys it, proving that world-wide fame and sold out tours haven’t gotten to his head. This album is truly a step up from his earlier songs; the musical subtleties are finer, and the lyrics are more refined, a mark of sophistication and maturity from the grittiness of the tracks from Jake Bugg. There’s also a nice bit of diversity within the album without it going all over the place and being too “experimental”. Bugg retains his core character throughout the album even with the heavy rock Rick Rubin-esque What Doesn’t Kill You (in case you don’t remember, Rubin produced this album and Shangri La is named after Rubin’s studio in Malibu), and the more mellow and sober tracks A Song About Love and Simple Pleasures. 

Bugg is coming to Nashville in February and I’m absolutely stoked. Everyone needs to listen to Shangri La because who doesn’t like listening to songs about love, drugs, and british street life? And in case you don’t know where to start I’ll give you a list of my favourite tracks from the album.

Slumville Sunrise:


A Song About Love:


Messed Up Kids: 



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