James Bay did not make everyone wait four years after “Electric Light” for new music, and for that everyone is grateful.
Releasing an EP titled “Oh My Messy Mind,” Bay seems to have gone back to the acoustic dismal sound which saw him rise to prominence with his debut album in 2014, “Chaos and the Calm.”
He took a risk with “Electric Light,” and to be completely honest, I loved it. It was not necessarily the James Bay we were expecting, but the album was well done, and if you listened to it chronologically, it told a story.
But aside from it being well done from a musical standpoint, something was off. It seemed Bay was still searching for his identity in this album. He cut his hair and changed his style a bit. Although it worked, it just did not feel right.
Well, his hair has grown back, and he seems to have found his identity.
The opening track on the EP is the romantic duet with Julia Michaels, “Peer Pressure.” Released earlier this year in the form of a single, this song depicts a conversation between Bay and Michaels. They sing of their constant attachment to one another. “You’re dancing around on my mind every second,” Bay and Michaels sing in unison. “I’m under control till you’re in front of me/ Maybe I’m scared, I don’t care, I’m addicted/ I’m in it.” The bone-chilling message portrayed in this verse is startlingly relatable. Just think of that one person who, no matter how hard you try, is always in your mind. They control your entire persona, and when they walk into the room, everything freezes. That is who this song is about.
The second track is a powerful acoustic piece titled “Bad.” Bay debuted this song in December of 2018 and has been playing it as an encore song throughout his tour. In this song, Bay’s voice overpowers every instrument and the lyrics resonate deep in your core. Singing of a love who walked out and his journey to get over her, Bay realizes that their love is gone. “I want you bad, till I shake,” Bay sings, “I want what we had, but what’s broken don’t unbreak.”
Bay seems to be consistently led on throughout the song as he gets his hopes up, only to later have them dissipate. “Just when I’m ready to get over you, you call me up/ And then I crumble when you say you’re getting over us.”
“Rescue” is a hard pop anthem where Bay is accompanied by heavy instrumentals, a raspy voice and a background choir. “They say the more you love, the harder you fall/ But I would rather hurt than nothing at all.” These are the opening two lines to the chorus, and they carry an impact. Regret is said to be the worst pain of all, so Bay is saying he would rather get hurt trying than regret never knowing.
To cap it all off, we have “Break My Heart Right,” a somber yet beautiful masterpiece. Accompanied only by a piano, Bay wears his heart on his sleeve and lays it all out in the open. Singing of pure love regardless of how much it hurts, it is true and it is real.
“I don’t mind falling for a lifetime/ ’Cause you break my heart right.” He is being brutally honest here. In the end, everyone will hurt you, but you have to find the one where the love you are longing for is worth suffering for.
That phrase sums up Bay’s message throughout the EP: true love is worth suffering for.