James Bay‘s new single “Best Fake Smile” is a sharp detour from his previous broody and melancholic songs “Hold Back The River“, “Let It Go” and “Scars“. The track is enjoyable as an uplifting, upbeat, don’t-give-a-shit anthem. It’s hard to deny that it gets your feet dancing under your table as you watch it, and the casting of a little geeky accomplice playing air-guitar on a tennis racket ensures that cute factor.
However, like I said, it’s a sharp detour from the monochrome, shadowy videos we’ve seen from Bay previously. With his previous videos for “Hold Back The River” et al. there was continuity to through the songs, like chapters in a story. I prefer the self-reflective, insecure and philosophical James Bay. Call me a sap for the disillusioned musician, but I think his artistry as a songwriter and performer are best reflected in these songs – and you can see it in the video for “Best Fake Smile”. Bay looks utterly uncomfortable in his lip-synching close-ups throughout the video. Similarly, I found myself asking myself this question just as the rainbow disco kaleidoscope kicked in halfway through the video: “Am I watching a Carly Rae Jepsen video?”
“Best Fake Smile” is a great song, and James Bay is a great artist – there is no deny it – but this isn’t a video I would’ve expected.
Contributor: Clyde Davis