I had intended to feature some EBM tonight (Electronic Body Music), a genre that combines elements of industrial music and synth-punk with dance music.
But then I realised that Jacob Bellens has a new single out, ‘Glad you came’, so he gets the nod. His stuff is more for the soul than the body.
We last heard from the cultured Dane, probably the nearest they’ve got to Ed Sheeran (he even looks a little like Hebden Bridge’s finest), just over a year ago and I reckoned it was a more appropriate way of marking the end of this weird Indian summer we just had.
Jacob’s last single here was ‘Doing Fine’ in which he was resisting the lure of being caught up in waves of ‘over-thinking.’ Prior to that was a song called ‘Summer Sadness’ which concerned the personal challenges he faced growing up. Prior to that was ‘Bread and Butter’, which was about being stuck in, waiting for your real life to start, a wake-up call to live now and not postpone things until tomorrow.
Jacob is evidently a deep thinking philosopher and this time around he’s making a statement that he is what he is, does what he does, and shouldn’t be concerned about whether others like him or not. ‘I am what I am’ meets ‘I did it my way’ and setting Gloria and Frank aside we’ve featured several songs bearing the same attitude recently.
Is it a ‘post-pandemic’ thing I wonder, this desire to impress one’s unshackled individuality? Yea or nay, Jacob is the right man for it; he has shown before how he lives for the moment and invites others to do the same. YOLO as they say.
He does hit on something that you rarely read about, namely that no-one cares as much about your flaws as you do, which makes it an R&B take on ‘Beautiful’ perhaps.
Overall it’s a lighter piece than much of what I’ve heard from Jacob previously, somewhat more up tempo despite the deathly bass line and traditionally moribund vocal delivery.
Unusually he addresses himself in the second person, (‘Glad you came’) as if it is his alter ego speaking, but he doesn’t admonish himself for his perceived failings as much as wraps a brotherly arm around his own shoulders for comfort.
Intriguingly, he relates his experience to one of killing a mockingbird, or destroying innocence:
“You’re not the only around here/Who has been betrayed and hurt/Who has wondered most of a lifetime/How to kill a mockingbird”.
I have to profess that it’s a line I don’t really get, I can only assume that he has come to hate his status in the wider scheme of things and wanted to obliterate it rather than embrace it, which he has suddenly learned how to do.
You’ll probably think I’ve spent too much time in the sun today, or have engaged with too much vino collapso but there’s something about the guitar/orchestral arrangement on ‘Glad you came’ which makes me think of Mason Williams’ ‘Classical Gas.’
You’ll either hear it or you won’t. Or maybe think it’s not so much classical gas as ‘pass me some grass’ to ease those imagined flaws away.
‘Glad you came’ is out now.
The album is called ‘Off my Meds’ and will be released in October.
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