Did I not say that I’d be posting more often? I’m here and I’m talking about something I love: music.
A little known fact about me unless you know me personally: I fucking love James Arthur. I also have some respect for the bloke; throughout his scandals and the stuff that went on behind the scenes in his past, he’s built himself up and he’s able to reflect on the past. He’s able to see what was right/wrong, and he’s openly talking about his past issues and issues he may still have (not gonna delve into his private life because, what right do I really have?)
When he announced he was releasing new music, my ears perked up. As a fan and someone who thinks that lyrically he’s could be one of the best, I was ready, my ears were ready and my heart was ready. I was even more ready after his vocals on ‘You Can Cry‘ with Marshmallow and Juciy J.
With You Deserve Better, I’ll say that he’s gone with an upcoming trend in music, and it feels more stripped back, more minimalistic. With a bassline and drumbeat leading the chorus, and guitar in the verses, it was simplistic and stripped back, and here’s the thing: it fucking works.
Quick sidenote- you know why I said it seemed to be an upcoming trend and theme? Think of the verses and prechorus in Want You Back by 5 Seconds of Summer (my review of that linked here). Although a hell of a lot of effort and elements go into making the sound possible, unless you’ve got an ear for music or you have workings in music, you’d not know or notice the effort it takes (and the balls if takes). Although no, they’re not the same, the approach seemed similar to me.
Lyrically, it’s not one of his best, but it’s not awful; there’s meaning in there and it’s not just repeating the same words or phrases constantly. For me as a big fan, I look at his past work such as Naked, Trainwreck, Watched the Rain Together, Broken Hearted, Faded and I’ll Reach You (oh yeah, I’m a fucking fan) I compare them. Yes, I know the points that people will make that Trainwreck is a completely different subject, I’ll Reach You is a different tone, but there is still a difference. Faded is the song that reminds me the most of You Deserve Better (“Honey I’m not worth it, so don’t you cry for me”) as it is a similar topic in parts. In most recent years, it has the same kind of tone as Prisoner; he’s aware that he’s on a bad path and telling his partner they should leave (“When I throw up out your window, you should confiscate my keys, I will drive you up the fucking wall, is it too late to believe”) though the message isn’t as direct as You Deserve Better- it’s more talking about his battles of addiction and wanting to make his significant other see he’s not great in his current state.
When it comes to You Deserve Better? It is more commercial, and as a lead single, it’s a wise business move; it’s catchy enough that it’ll get in people’s heads, the lyrics are simplistic enough to remember and it’s relatable. When you think about it, when you look at his last album Back From the Edge, Say You Won’t Let Go was the lead single, and in comparison to topics covered on the rest of the album, it was more commercial, more relatable to people- another wise business move.
The twist that interested me though was that it wasn’t just moping saying that this person deserved better; it was saying that they hoped they DID find better and that they wanted them to find someone else. Unlike the many songs just saying a person deserves better but they thank their partner for stayibg, he elludes to leaving and saying he hopes they find better. I love this element because we need someone to be self aware; not every issue in a relationship is down to another person or solely down to that person (looking @ you Swift, oh look what you’ve made me do*) but also when you know it’s your fault, take the blame and don’t guilt trip people into staying- you know you’re being shitty and you know they should leave.
I’m a fan of this, and despite me not thinking it’s the best thing he’s done, has it been on repeat? You bet your fucking arse it has.
So, my final piece of advice? Go listen to it- it’ll be linked throughout the post but also here. His other songs mentioned will be linked too because you’re missing out if you’ve not heard them, but get the tissues ready because they’re pretty fucking sad.
Stay safe and stay happy Angels❤️
*I love her but let’s be honest, it’s rare that something is her fault, and don’t mention Back to December, I Almost Do or All to Well, because I said it was rare, not impossible.