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VIDEO: Jake Bugg unleashes “Messed Up Kids

Ready for a new music fix? Try the U.K.’s Jake Bugg. He’s dominated the U.K. charts, and now he’s comin’ for America.
After conquering the U.K. charts with his self-titled debut album, Jake Bugg has his sights set on America. Last year, he released his follow-up album Shangri La. It warranted such an enthusiastic response that Bugg pushed the U.S. release date to November, sharing his Rick Rubin-produced masterpiece ahead of schedule because he’s just that excited about it. Now, he’s released the video for his new single “Messed Up Kids,” and it’s sure to pull in even more fans.

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“Messed Up Kids” is about exactly that: Kids who are messed up, struggling, barely scraping by. If you can look past Bugg’s Justin Bieber-like haircut and overly posed press shots, the 19-year-old is worth listening to for the very fact that he has a soul. Bugg, originally from Nottingham, has more substance in his pinky than most other pop stars lumped all together. He also has a unique and entrancing voice and incredible musical range. Among the many tracks on Shangri La, Bugg floats between rockabilly, folk and straight up rock. Even with the prominence of his acoustic guitar, there is something really punk about “Messed Up Kids,” and it goes beyond the fact that it’s a song for/about outsiders. There’s a gritty energy to the song that a more open-minded punk enthusiast could easily embrace.

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The video for “Messed Up Kids” is as equally touching as the lyrics. As Bugg talks about hard times and empty pockets, viewers are forced to confront the faces of kids who are living on the edge of survival, or at least models and actors pretending to be those kids.

From America to Glasto and Japan and everywhere in between, Bugg has slowly been conquering the radio airwaves. Listen to “Messed Up Kids.” Not your cup of tea? One of his other songs will be. That span of influences has taken him far, and it’s bound to pull you in eventually.

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