Face B and beyond: James Bay

Welcome to another installment of B-Sides and Beyond, where we take an artist who is dear to us and dive into some of their lesser-known works. The subject of this article? The one and only James Bay.

English artist James Bay’s rise to music industry fame began in the early 2010s with the release of EP as Morning darkness (2013) and Let it go (2014) before touring briefly with Hozier in 2014. He then released his first studio album Chaos and calm the same year, which would become No.1 in the UK and No.15 in the US. The single ‘Hold Back the River’ also peaked at No.2 in the UK and was certified double platinum. In 2018, Bay released their second studio album. Electric light. Since then, the singer has released numerous singles and collaborations, and a third studio album is currently in the works.

Best known for songs like “Let It Go,” “Hold Back the River,” “Us” and “Wild Love,” Bay has a variety of lesser-known songs from their studio albums as well as singles and collaborations as we go. present today.


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Straight out of his 2019 EP Oh my messy mind, which also gave us the popular duet “Peer Pressure” with Julia Michaels, is “Bad”. In general, I think Oh my messy mind is Bay’s lesser-known EP, simply because a lot of songs from his early EPs ended up on his studio albums. Nonetheless, this heartbreaking song about the desperate longing for love that has run its course is amazing and shows off that classic James Bay falsetto. This song is not a commonly talked about song regarding Bay’s works, which I think should definitely change..

“I found you”

Bay’s second album Electric light posted to mixed reviews. Trying to shake up his sound and image, it looks like Bay has strayed from the I born know what that drew his fan base so strongly in the first place. However, despite the mixed reaction, there were a few notable songs on the album, such as “Pink Lemonade”, “Us” and “Wild Love” – ​​with “I Found You” being the least known and loved in my music. humble opinion. This song sounded like a link to the deeper R&B and Soul influences we saw in Chaos and calm as opposed to the heightened notes of pop that permeated Bay’s second studio album. In my opinion, the combination of rock, indie, soul, R&B and influences (with a bit of pop) is one of the best parts of the artist’s unique sound that mixes genres.

“Chew my heart”

When Bay released the single “Chew On My Heart”, fans were surprised when not one, not two, not even three, but four different versions were released: the ordinary version, acoustic version, the Madism remix, and my favorite (see above), the piano and voice version. This beautiful song details the desire for a love that we know could destroy you. Despite this, you feel like it and invite it nonetheless because being without them is worse than the alternative.


Co-written by James Bay, this new single ended up in the lap of British singer-songwriter Calum Scott. Fortunately, we were still blessed with an acoustic duet between Scott and Bay in addition to the solo version of Scott. Scott and Bay’s vocals complement each other perfectly, with Bay serving as accompanying bass harmonies to Scott’s crystal-clear high melodies. As I said before, Bay has a great palette, and while he often draws from his upper register in his songs, it’s a refreshing reminder of how versatile the singer is to see him in this less common role. And of course, we never miss a chance to see Bay show off his guitar prowess.


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Another underrated and underrated song from Electric light, “Slide” is the closest to Bay’s second studio album. One of the heaviest tracks on the album, “Slide” is an ode to losing someone you love and watching them, well, “slip into someone else’s arms. “. While he has some lovely, moving ballads of the happier aspects of love, a number of songs in Bay’s repertoire also focus on the flip side of those cheerful, bouncy aspects – in this case, the things don’t work. However, despite these bluer aspects, the song is still imbued with a message of hope and purpose despite things that don’t work, displayed by the outro: an excerpt from “Song” (one of the favorite poems. by Bay Allen Ginsberg) read by musician David Ryan Harris.

BONUS – Cover “If I don’t have you”

James Bay fans know his penchant for covers; this was featured in depth during his YouTube mini-concerts during his forties. In 2015, Bay recorded a cover of Alicia Keys’ classic “If I Ain’t Got You” for a Spotify session. These sessions featured “a collection of exclusive live performances from the world’s most exciting artists”. Bay has expressed his love for soul and R&B, and it shows through his music, whether it’s originals or covers like these.

James Bay has continually demonstrated its talent with its unique sound influenced by a plethora of genres. There are so many tracks Chaos and calm (especially the Deluxe version) which could have been on this list if we had had the time.

With its increase in new projects such as its stint on I am with the group, gigs in small venues and the release of one of his most recent “Chasing Stars” collaborations with Marshmello and Alesso, we’re sure we’ll continue to see him more over time – especially with this mysterious third album studio in the works. In the meantime, we’ll continue blasting our favorite tracks from the long-haired English musician on a loop.

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