Friday 26 February 2016

Falling In and Out of Love with One of the Most Exciting Artists on the Planet

May 2014 was the first time I heard Jack Garratt. The track was 'Water'. It was before I used to write about the songs I posted so I have very little idea about how I felt upon hearing Garratt's work for the first time, other than I thought there was a mild comparison to be made between him and City And Colour. Whilst this definitely isn't completely unjustified, it was unbeknown to me that Garratt was going to start releasing music that could not possibly be lumped into a category alongside any "similar artists".

Two months later we got to hear 'Worry' for the first time. I couldn't have been more excited and it delivered so much more than I could have expected. I actually included 'Worry' in my favourite songs of 2014 and I was still posting songs daily at this point, so I had a lot to choose from, but this one had clearly made a big impression on me. In October, Garratt's debut EP Remnants was released and passed me by a little to be honest. But I didn't have to wait long for what has become by far my favourite song in his catalogue, 'The Love You're Given'. At the time I had a huge friend crush on a boy I was talking to and the line "I've been tryna give you my love but you won't let me" struck a real chord with me. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I've listened to that song.

So here we are, December 2014 and Jack Garratt is one of my "Artists I’d Like To Think Will Do Well in 2015". Vevo, who we've discussed do very little right other than things like this, also thought that Jack Garratt was worth you're time in 2015. And thank fuck for that. This was my first experience of what he could do live and it blew my mind. Like, "oh shit, this guy is a human octopus". As with every artist I stuck on my Tips for 2015 list, I didn't really like the first song that Garratt put out last year. But I wasn't phased about not really liking 'Chemical' because it was definitely still good. In April the track featured alongside 'The Love You're Given' on Synethesiac, Garratt's second EP.

So May is around the corner and my time to finally see Jack Garratt live is upon us. I've probably written about this a billion times but I queued for two hours to see him perform at The Great Escape last year. I was right at the back but the whole room was bursting with excitement for the musician standing before us. Less than two weeks later I'm standing in London's Village Underground watching a very similar set but enhanced to the max with the most intense laser show I've ever seen. I think there was something about watching Jack Garratt alone that got me really invested in what he was doing at this particular point in time, I'm not sure whether I would have felt the same feels if I'd been with other people and slightly less immersed.

A little while later, 'Weathered', a track that had featured in Garratt's live set was released as a single. People liked 'Weathered' which was cool. I don't like 'Weathered' which is almost to be expected, because it's a ballad. So, this is it; the start of the downward spiral of our relationship. In November I made a rash decision that meant I was only able to catch the latter half of Garratt's headline set at Shepherd's Bush Empire. I wasn't even bothered. In fact, I was annoyed that I hadn't just stayed at the first show I'd attended that night. Something about how I perceived Garratt's music and live show had changed. Maybe it was the venue size? There was something that still felt very real and personal about his on stage between song banter at Village Underground and although his personality and charisma are both 100% still in tact, there's some kind of authenticity that gets lost in bigger rooms.

It's present day. Garratt strolled into 2016 after winning the Brits Critics Choice award and topping the BBC's Sound of 2016 poll. It's also likely that by the end of the day he'll have a UK number one album too. And that's incredible. It's been amazing to watch the rise of such a talented musician but for no real reason, as Funeral For A Friend once greatly said, "I just can't feel the same about you anymore."

When Jack Garratt's debut album Phase was released last week I had no instant desire to listen to it and that broke my heart, especially after witnessing the online buzz from artists as well as my own friends. I gave it a spin a few days ago and all of the excitement I felt back in 2014 when I first heard 'Water' has near disappeared. And that is so annoying. A boy I spent a great deal of my time in Sixth Form attempting to impress tried striking up a conversation about Phase a couple of days ago. All I could say was "yeah of course it's good but I just don't really like Jack Garratt any more ", and his response was, "I'm done trying to impress you." There are very few things as frustrating as falling out of love with something just as your friends are falling in love with it.

Without a doubt, I still recognise that Jack Garratt is one of the very most talented and genuine musicians on the planet. And I've never met the guy but I'm not sure he even recognises how incredible he is in quite the same way that other people do. But personally, I just need something from him to recapture the awe I first felt two years ago. So Jack, this isn't the end, it's not you, it's me, and I think that for now we just some time apart.

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