Monday, July 13th, 2009

Jamie T – Sticks ‘n’ Stones

The warbler of Wimbledon Common is he…


Anthony Easton: Concise. Heart-rending. I am a sucker for lost masculinity, and with less eccentric detail, but equal flow to Mike Skinner, it works towards universalizing a class of men who remain economically disenfranchised. Would put it on a mix tape right next to John Rich’s “Shutting Detroit Down”.

Fergal O’Reilly: Jamie T’s songs are ramshackle, half-sung insights into what it’s like to spend your life amidst the hustle and bustle of a crazy, mixed-up city like London. Jamie T sings about what he knows, because he understands that we can all identify with lyrics about night buses and closing time at the pub. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are writing songs about the gutter. This newest one is a particularly moving account of one man’s tragic £80 fine for drunkenly pissing on a shop front, or some shit; it is a work of astounding pathos, and more importantly, a commendably frank insight into what it’s like to be an inane dickhead in London. Jamie T is an urban troubadour. He is a boundary pushing, rough diamond man of the people. He is more glottal stop than man.

Alex Ostroff: Jamie T’s Panic Prevention was the album that, to my ears, actually matched the claims made about The Streets. Gorgeously layered found sound, poetry, strings and Nintendo synths and in the middle of it all, Jamie T, painting vibrant pictures of city life. “Sticks ‘n’ Stones” adds more guitar to the palette than prior, and a harder, driving edge. But the bass still bounces, the drums still dance, and Jamie still basks in the half-remembered nostalgia of drunken summer nights. The chorus is made for walking down city streets at midnight, feeling invincible.

Anthony Miccio: A tale of boys bonding through brutality, speedy but also shrill, rapped but also yelped and given a lightweight sheen beyond anything musical forefather Tim Armstrong tried with Rancid or Transplants (if I’m wrong, please don’t play me the evidence). The decision to tack a wistful, Joshua Tree synth line to the chorus instead of boosting the guitars overplays the sap inherent in any fond recollection of violence, making this more candy ass than bad ass.

Alex Wisgard: I was just starting college when Jamie T got popular; seeing as we came from the same neck of the woods, he quickly became the soundtrack for pretty much any social gathering I went to. Being a slightly pretentious seventeen year old, I tried to avoid his music as best I could, though I always secretly enjoyed it when I heard it. Jamie T may now be a little older, but “Sticks ‘n’ Stones” shows that he’s not much wiser — its hastily slurred lyrics are a mess of finding trouble, underage drinking and “Your Mum” jokes. Still, maybe it’s my craving for teenage nostalgia having hit the ripe old age of twenty, but this may be one of the year’s best pop singles; to his credit, the kid’s clearly not lost his way around a pop song. There are countless hooks contained within these four minutes, including a fake chorus — always a winner in my book – some endearingly off-key wailing in the real chorus, and a sense of fun and humour sorely lacking in the second efforts by some of the other leading lights of Thamesbeat (whoever came up with that tag deserves shooting).

Martin Skidmore: His voice is hideous, especially when he is more singing than rapping, as on the chorus here. His rapping is rubbish too, but a bit less offensive.

Chuck Eddy: In general I get more out of Jamie talking than Jamie singing, though his talking is also more monochromatic. The recurring high chorus hook feels vaguely punkish, but four minutes of it is way too many. I might dig some oi! band blitzkrieging this, though — assuming England still has oi! bands.

Martin Kavka: I can’t deny that there’s a certain kind of warped tenderness on display here: “your momma’s flat [is] the only place but home I feel relaxed enough to crap / I know it sounds crude, but there’s something in that.” Forgettable + compelling =

Iain Mew: Having heard the radio edit of this a lot, I’m sort of disappointed that it turns out not to go “the only place but home I’m relaxed enough to wank”, as I imagined. His relentless wall of words still successfully hits just often enough (“..stuck in Hampton Wick”!) to balance out the underwhelming chorus.

Michaelangelo Matos: Not sure there’s an element here that would stand up on its own — the stuffed-up Brit-rapping, the shouted chorus, the bratty vibe of it all — but put all together, not terrible. Weird.

5 Responses to “Jamie T – Sticks ‘n’ Stones”

  1. “a class of men who remain economically disenfranchised”

    Jamie T’s old school, according to Wikipedia:

    Reed’s School is an independent day and boarding school for boys located in Cobham, Surrey, England.

    The school is a small school of only 600 pupils. It is boys only until the fifth form but admits girls in the sixth form. The school maintains strong connections with the Armed Forces.

    The School’s Patron is Her Majesty the Queen, who officially visited the school in 1997.

    The Times 2008 school league tables placed Reed’s 396th and 420th for its GCSE and A-level performances respectively.

  2. Well, just because he attended a posh school loaded with noncey ponces doesn’t mean he can’t capably sing about economically disenfranchised youth making trouble on the backstreets, obviously. (Though I’m not claiming he does, myself; I mostly had trouble making out the words.)

  3. Odd one this, I have very mixed feelings about it that would probably wash out to a 6 if that didn’t feel so much like a fence-sitter of a judgment.

    Chorus good, singing equal parts ugly and appealingy-squealed, nice up-tempo brightness, certain moral nausea at the embrace of thoughtless thuggery as bonding experience.

    A puzzle.

  4. thanks for that lex

  5. If we start refusing working-class lyrics from middle-class performers, I am going to have to get rid of a lot of my albums.

    I just can’t abide his voice, and whatever he was saying wouldn’t change that.