Single Review: James Bay – Chew on My heart
Zia Faraz reviews James Bay’s new single Chew On My Heart
James Bay has a knack for translating the internal, daily reality of sappy, every-man infatuation into an externally meaty and continuous melodic resolve. His work has stood out due to its ingenuity and stream-of-consciousness sincerity, despite often succumbing to the tractable, saccharin limitations of most popular chart music.
His new single ‘Chew On My Heart’ embraces the sonic remnants of the forceful alternative melancholia present in the singer-songwriter’s debut album, all the while reconciling those residual tones with his recent output’s more dulcet, soul-wrenching indie-pop timbre. It is an eerily patched up agglutination of Bay’s past and present, both tonally in its auditory tempestuousness and thematically in its lyrics.
A serotonin-infused release of tension
This is exemplified in the breakneck, close to non-existent transition between the tranquil, arpeggio-laden first verse and the shimmering, multi-track chorus. A pulsing drum beat trucks in with serendipity and persists all the way through, and Bay’s raw, uninhibited vocals are a nice accompaniment to the thumping baseline, chunky power chords and stuttering acoustic strums.
The song is a recreation of the internal feeling of “When I come home from tour, and I burst through the door and throw my arms around my girl,” explains Bay. Cheesy one-liners like ‘You’re the truth that is breaking me and keeping me together’ and the wailing repetition of the eponymous title anecdote of ‘chew on my heart’ aggrandize the moment he describes and captures the very humanistic notion of putting emotional stock into the cosmological mundane.
The physical relief Bay feels once he gets home is shoved onto the listener in the chorus like a serotonin-infused release of tension.
All in all, a nicely laid out yet surprising enough structure, coupled with the admittedly daft but ultimately endearing bubblegum lyricism, make this a tune worth listening to.