Thursday, March 8th, 2018

James Bay – Wild Love

“James Bay (French: Baie James, Cree: Wînipekw) is a large body of water on the southern end of Hudson Bay in Canada.” Hang on, that’s not right…


Claire Biddles: James, babe, there are some decent ideas here but you’re just going to have to learn to edit. The next time you whack a synth and some vocoder on, maybe try weeding away some of the anthemic rock histrionics? Introduce some light and shade? Electronic elements can be more than just a last minute sparkling topping for your guitar balladry, I promise. This could be a teachable moment for you! Trust me, my favourite band is The 1975. 

Julian Axelrod: This sounds like Francis and the Lights without the conviction or the high-profile songwriting credits. In other words, it’s just another white guy with a synth.

Iain Mew: James Bay turning his music into spongy electronic James Blayke is a pleasing surprise turn, even if he reverts to type in overegging it soon enough.

Alfred Soto: It’s hard to call your love “wild” when you call a choir for backup within seconds of stepping in front of the mike. And why the voice distortion — is he afraid someone’ll confuse him for Ed Sheeran?

Will Adams: That James Bay’s idea of “wild” amounts to an insipid reduction of the synth washes and puréed, braying backing vox that Bon Iver discovered a decade ago almost elicits some sort of feeling from me. Almost.

Ryo Miyauchi: James Bay tries to dress up his offer into what wild love should look like. His voice gets warped Bon Iver-style, and that distorted guitar solo got riffs coiled up like tendrils. But it doesn’t change the facts what he actually wants is pretty vanilla, and the bones of this is a standard pharmacy-store ballad despite the studio touch up.

Katherine St Asaph: The mix is as watery and off-tempo as a bobbing rubber duck, the vocals off-key as Steve Mauldin singing Sam Smith — I had to make sure nothing else was autoplaying. (And I nominate: Toto’s “Africa” one step out of key and off-beat.) Let’s be clear: the adult-contemporary!Jessie Ware track beneath this sonic waterboarding would still be fusty and boring. It just wouldn’t also be a monstrosity.

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2 Responses to “James Bay – Wild Love”

  1. I listened to that Toto video and I’m definitely cursed now

  2. I’m so happy I am now a part of TSJ, because now I’m sitting in an awkward Lyft ride in New Jersey and the driver turned on to James Bay Pandora Radio and this song showed up. I feel it’s deceptive in trying to sound interesting, but it’s like eating a Ho-ho and thinking it’s a real pastry, yuck. Thanks for being grounded, I do. It feel alone now haha