James Bay: Is it all about visual?

«Pop music is much more about visual, you know?» James Bay, MYfm interview, 9 Feb 2018

How important is the visual component for the pop song? Do you often listen to songs with taking not a single glance at the performer? Do you enjoy music videos or is the sound the only thing that matters for you?

Apparently, James Bay thinks that in pop music the visual part of the deal should not be underrated. At least, that’s how he explains this «new chapter» in his career that started with his 2018 album «Electric Thought».

When I first heard (saw?) James Bay, he was a nice skinny guy with long hair wearing a big hat. He looked like a guy who doesn’t really care so much about the clothes and the appearance overall. An «It only matters what’s inside» kind of guy. Below is one of the singles from James Bay’s premier album «Chaos and the Calm» (Released in 2015).

But then 2018 came with «Electric Light» album, and it was a «Woooooow who is this guy» moment. Bright colours, SHORT HAIR, more…masculine look. I think the change is most noticeable in the music video for «Pink Lemonade» song.

Is this the same guy who looked so innocent and cute some years before? Well, as James assures, it is still him playing and singing 🙂 However, you can notice in other tracks from the album that the sound also changed in some way.

So, what do we have? James Bay, using the opportunity that the genre of pop music provides, tried to change the character, starting a new chapter with the new album. But was it made just for fun? Hmmm… don’t think so. Don’t you see that with the change in the visual component the target audience also changes? Bright colours, stylish look and specific lyrics may be the formula for gaining success among … teenagers, for instance. Or just among anyone who needs an aesthetic image to be fully satisfied with the song. Why would you employ only one instrument (sound) if you can attract attention with cool image and become more popular?

So, what do you think, was such a change of character made for some commercial purposes? Or James Bay’s soul just wanted something new?

For the end, since no matter how does he look like, James Bay is a super talented guy, I would like to advise you on listening to his cover of «Shake it Out» (Florence and the Machine). One of my favourite covers ever <3

P.S. So, when am I supposed to cut my hair and start a new chapter?