Jake Morley — A Return to Songcraft

When an artist is able to put both outstanding composition and gut-wrenching emotion in his or her music, that is when that person truly accomplishes something unique.

In this day and age, a lot of popular music doesn’t take a moment to sit back and really appreciate the craft that is music making. The amount of work, passion and dedication needed to produce a moving piece of art is undervalued and instead replaced with a simple 4/4 time signature that is jazzed up with a few snares and synths here and there.

Don’t get me wrong, the basic structure of today’s popular music isn’t complete garbage. I’m a huge believer in feel-good music and radio-friendly car jams. However, there are very few artists out there that really make me feel something powerful, and trust me when I say I’m a very emotional person.

Jake Morley Takes You Places

Perhaps one of the few artists that can galvanize my emotional state is London-born singer Jake Morley.

Morley’s latest album, The Manual, is one that is unexpectedly thought-provoking and inherently mindful of the singer’s deepest, most personal emotional state. Not to mention the production of the album is just absolutely wonderful — Morley’s intricate and delicate guitar plucking shows off his talent as a musician, adding a vibrancy to the album that balances out the heavy lyrical content.

One of the most well-crafted tracks on the album is “Strange Loop.” Described by Jake Morley as “an attempt to describe the concept of only moving upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system and finding oneself back to where they started,” the track uses repetition of both lyrics and instrumental to “represent this paradoxical idea of feeling stuck in the same place.”

In a very Gotye-esque fashion, Morley uses airy, layered vocals to captivate the listener’s ears. The instrumental itself is super relaxing, yet there is still a level or urgency and distress that is evident in the way Jake Morley repeats the lyrics with a slight strain in his voice. It’s almost as if he is about to run out of breath, until the song mellows out again and smoothly transitions into a lyrical instrumental.

At the end of the track, you can hear Morley softly mumbling some final snippets of words as he takes a deep breath, and you can really hear the complexity in his thoughts. “Strange Loop” really is just a loop of Morley’s thoughts executed through the medium of music.

Songs like “The Floods” and “Falter” encompass Morley’s amazing ability to evoke emotion using just an instrumental and his powerful vocals.

Both songs are heavily contrasting in tone; “The Floods” is a lovely, lyrical tune that uses beautiful harmonies and the sound of drum sticks clattering against each other to create a track that sounds like the musical equivalent of skipping through a meadow. It’s a very theatrical piece; the layering of the string instruments and Morley’s lyrical innocence really brings the mood up.

Meanwhile, “Falter” is a daunting, introspective track whose melancholic string instrumental and poignant lyrics exude such a wonderfully deep emotional vulnerability. “I always used to be so headstrong / Yea I lost it, where did I go wrong? / All I seem to do is falter,” sings Morley, as elongated violin notes and fluttering guitar trills trail his every word.

For me, though, “Ghostess” is definitely the most heart-rendering tracks on the album. The song captures the immense dejection of a hard break up beautifully. Lyrics like “I feel you here / You’re my ghostess” emulate his longing and project it onto the audience.

With its powerful instrumental that builds up and explodes with a raw, emotionally driven crescendo, it’s a perfect track for any modern dancer who wishes to move their audience. I can definitely see this song being performed with a visual representation, simply because there is just so much to work with.

Each song on Jake Morley’s The Manual is filled with so much emotion and power and honesty, encompassing a poetic vulnerability that is hard to come by nowadays. It’s a mix of both modern and classic, of both electronic and acoustic, of raw emotion and pure honesty. He has such a beautiful voice, too. I am just completely mesmerized by this album.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.