• Record Label: Mercury
  • Release Date: Apr 9, 2013

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
Buy On
  1. Apr 15, 2013
    For a teenager's debut, Jake Bugg shows an artist who is crazy fully formed, stepping into a journey that should be worth following.
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    Growing up in the Nottingham projects may have given Bugg enough life experience to get away with penning “Seen It All,” but it’s his sonic aesthetic that give his tales truth.
  3. Apr 10, 2013
    The 19-year-old’s sound combines retro folk with elements of Britpop that’s as raw as it is original, which equals one of the more exciting debuts in some time.
  4. Apr 9, 2013
    The debut from this 19-year-old British talent is very impressive and easy to listen to even if it’s not particularly trailblazing.
  5. 63
    Accompanying himself on a guitar that probably cost 10 quid, Bugg holds two fingers up to yesterday and moans about being stuck in Speed Bump City in scrappy early-rock ditties as full of Buddy Holly as they are of Bob Dylan.
  6. Mar 13, 2013
    Small-town blues burst at the seams of Bugg's songs, but he reacts to the restlessness with an impressive sense of detail and narrative shot in concise tunes.
  7. Q Magazine
    Nov 21, 2012
    This could be the most finely realised piece of work by a teenager since Arctic Monkeys released Whatever People Say I Am... in 2006. [Dec 2012, p.104]
  8. Oct 30, 2012
    All in all, though Bugg's debut may not share the wordy precociousness of Conor Oberst's formative steps or the political astuteness of Willy Mason on Where the Humans Eat, it's his sheer earnestness and rare gift for writing simple, hook-filled tunes that ultimately charms the listener.
  9. Mojo
    Oct 18, 2012
    The teen delivers poetic social realism. [Nov 2012, p.90]
  10. Oct 15, 2012
    With a distinctive sound that's certain to have mass appeal, this teen troubadour is set to smash it.
  11. Ten out of 14 tracks are outstanding, especially considering Bugg's only 18.
  12. Oct 15, 2012
    He has a warm, wistful voice and keen observational eye, pitching his songs beautifully between youth and experience.
  13. 90
    The album's more subdued moments--like the disarmingly sweet navel-gaze of 'Simple As This', or the folksy arm-around-the-shoulder reassurance of 'Note To Self'--are its most remarkable ones, where Bugg's voice, usually accompanied by little more than an acoustic guitar, takes on a preternatural wisdom.
  14. Oct 12, 2012
    That voice, with its hint of Gene Pitney, is a piercing, precise tool which lifts him above the laddish milieu. Ubiquity may beckon.
  15. Oct 12, 2012
    His debut doesn't feel like poor pastiche [of 60's-era Dylan and Donovan] but rather the joyous tribute of a teenager with the necessary chops.
  16. 80
    There's a world-weariness to some of his songs that's as attractive now as ever.
  17. Uncut
    Oct 12, 2012
    Bugg's references are strictly retro, but his debut boasts a pleasing absence of stodge. [Nov 2012, p.71]
  18. Oct 11, 2012
    There's an attractive openness to the album, with no sense of contrivance: he's singing about what he knows. Once he knows a little more, you get the sense he might manage something truly memorable.
  19. Oct 11, 2012
    [Parts of the album are] bogged by balladry and at times blighted by tales that teeter on puerile, but this Nottingham scamp has got chops beyond his tender years.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 113
  2. Negative: 10 out of 113
  1. Apr 10, 2013
    By taking elements of the 1970s singer-songwriter folk-rock of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Don McLean, giving them a more upbeat-indie sound,By taking elements of the 1970s singer-songwriter folk-rock of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Don McLean, giving them a more upbeat-indie sound, and writing lyrics that are more relevant to today, Jake Bugg succeeds in capturing a sound that both traditional and new day folk-rock enthusiasts will enjoy. The album provides a look at the full range of Jake Bugg's capabilities, with some upbeat rock tunes like Lightning Bolt and Trouble Town as well as some slower, deeper songs such as Ballad of Mr. Jones and Note to Self. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next album and am expecting his fledgling career to take flight soon. Full Review »
  2. May 24, 2013
    Generic, simple rubbish is the only way to describe this album. Lightning Bolt contains the same 3 chord pattern the ENTIRE way through,Generic, simple rubbish is the only way to describe this album. Lightning Bolt contains the same 3 chord pattern the ENTIRE way through, symptomatic of an album and artist that is far more style over substance. Every song is a regressive, cliched and boring with no unique features to differentiate it to the 100's of other like it. Nearly every song's main writing credit is to a 40+ year old producer, and Bugg is signed to major label Mercury, putting pay to any notion of "authenticity". This perhaps explains the downright embarrassing lyricism on display here. "Running from the feds" is one among many the try-hard, faux authentic lyrics of this album, which can only be seen as a cynical ploy by Mercury to create an artist with "street cred". The accent he puts on is downright ridiculous, and makes him appear as a bad Bob Dylan impersonator. Jake Bugg? More like Fake Bugg. Full Review »
  3. Jan 1, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. His music reminds me of George Fornby somewhat - especially the "washing windows" song! For those who don't like nasal singers with twangy guitars, stay away! Full Review »