Jake Bugg is quite possibly the biggest artist to come out of Nottingham in recent years, leaping onto the scene with his number one self-titled debut back in 2012. Winning NME awards, nominated for a mercury prize; the then 18-year-old found fame seemingly overnight. However, with the massive success Bugg saw with his first record, naturally, it’s been an up-hill struggle since to keep the hype going. This month has seen the release of his fifth studio album Saturday Night, Sunday Morning; The Mic's Izzy Felton gives us the low-down.
The title fits the mood of the record, which is a mix of soft ballads and ‘ABBA inspired’ hits. It’s up and down, this way and that, but notably different to any record Bugg has released before. But perhaps misses the mark of an award-winning album along the way.
The record opens with advert friendly All I Need. The track is very much a pop inspired number, including a choir and catchy chorus perfect for the next Currys PC World commercial (other electrical retailers are available, of course). While that may sound like an insult, there are strengths in having a song fit for advertising. The track may not be anything ground breaking but it does have a real pop sensibility about it – a cleanly produced song that lays down the foundations that this Jake Bugg record isn’t like the old stuff. Showing that Jake Bugg isn’t a one trick pony.
"Unfortunately you can’t rely on good production and clever lyricists to make a record"
Saying that, Kiss Like the Sun is the highlight of Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. A country-type tune reminiscent of Bugg’s older discography, but sports the clean production the new record features. This is where his strength truly lies; an energetic track showing off Bugg’s unique vocals and nostalgic guitar riffs. Old Jake Bugg is sprinkled throughout, also heavily featuring on the final song Hold Tight, remnant of past ballad Simple as This. Hold Tight was co-written with pop anthem mastermind Andrew Watt, who has worked with the likes of Dua Lipa and Post Malone. The album has clearly had a lot of support behind the scenes by some of the music industry’s top dogs, but unfortunately you can’t rely on good production and clever lyricists to make a record.
Bugg’s transition to more pop-y songs isn’t clean enough and instead feels like a mix match of tunes that just don’t fit coherently together. There’s tracks like rocky Lonely Hours that would be popular with fans of the Courteeners and then others like Lost which seem to be where the pop-y ABBA inspiration musters itself. There are glimpses of greatness in the record, especially in songs like Kiss the Sun which show off Bugg’s talents at making a classic country-style indie banger. But ultimately, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning misses the mark of a great record.
Written by: Izzy Felton
Edited by: Joe Hughes