No, this song isn’t about kingdoms of isolation but rather the plain old isolation of a deteriorating relationship. An upcoming British artist, James Bay––not the large body of water on the southern end of Hudson Bay––from Hitchin, UK has a sincere, soulful voice that conveys both the nervous excitement that starts a relationship and the desperation and confusion that ends one.
“Let It Go” begins with two guitars, one eventually giving way to the other as Bay recounts his attempt to, like a particular animated movie about ice princesses, rediscover his identity. “Why don’t you be you, and I’ll be me” Bay sings over the repeating guitar riff that guides listeners through the song.
After opening for Hozier on his US tour, James Bay has since garnered a following and been voted runner-up on the BBC’s Sound of 2015 poll. Typically seen with a wide-brimmed, brown Panama hat and shoulder grazing hair, Bay looks like Willy Wonka’s smooth, baby-faced, younger, hipster brother, but he writes and performs with the deceptive maturity of someone with more experience and more wrinkles.
Bay’s first album, The Chaos and the Calm, comes out on March 23rd. If you liked what you heard and you don’t have any Saturday exams on May 1st (I mean, even if you do, ride or die, man), James Bay is playing that Friday at the 9:30 club. I bet he’ll wear his hat.