Updated: Aug 14
Six of the best lyrics from the South London indie singer's new album The Theory of Whatever.
Finally. Jamie T is back. On July 22nd, he released new album The Theory of Whatever. This is his first proper record in six years. B Sides (06-17) was a compilation of workings that was only gifted to the world in 2018 as it was unintentionally leaked by someone else.
So to celebrate the length of this hiatus, rather than bemoan it, I’ll use six as my structure for this piece. Here are 6 of his best lyrics from the 13-track The Theory of Whatever.
‘90s Cars’ – Verse 2
“I'm the last of the bastards / Bar staff have to be nice to and save a seat / They talk to me the same way that they talk to police / With an air of distaste / A bell of hate / Welcome to the working week”
Setting the scene in a pub and namechecking the police in one fell swoop… Yep, Jamie T hasn’t lost it. The opening track raises the curtain for this long-awaited new album nicely.
The above section is Jamie musing about being a regular in a British pub, his lyrics as on the nose as ever. The second verse lends itself perfectly to the essence of the song, which is one of self-loathing and feeling like you are stuck in a rut.
‘The Old Style Raiders’ – Pre-Chorus
“'Cause it's not fair to grow inside / When from the outside in it looks alright / But inside out life, it seems unkind / And when the walls they scream like killing dogs / 'Cause it's not fair to tell a lie / Forever unwashed in the sin so rife / And if you didn't know bеtter / You'd swear sometimеs / That you never knew love”
There’s a lot to unpack in this lead single and indeed the above lyrical selection. He tells of a negative emotion developing within someone making life “seems unkind” when “from the outside in it looks alright”.
In my interpretation, this is him acknowledging how unfair it is that someone could seem happy, when in reality they are struggling mentally. Despite The final part seems to be him wondering if he’s ever experienced true love in some form, particularly romantically.
‘British Hell’ – Verse 2
“That feeling of half-empty / I remember middle twenty I was arrogant and uncouth / I know exactly who you are”
Although not my favourite track on the record, this verse has a classic Jamie T touch, shown most obviously with even a slick mention of “coup de grâce”. Now in his mid-thirties, he is reflecting on how naïve he was a decade previously.
He is having a conversation with a woman in a bar and sees right through her schtick. “That feeling of half-empty” pinpoints that lack of direction many young adults feel
St. George Wharf Tower - verse 2
“Mamma didn't raise no fool / Mamma, am I strong enough / To deal with these blues? / All my life, playing in the waiting rooms / Always wanted kids, you know? / But the pressure at work”
There’s obviously a clear admission of him wanting children, attributing not having done so to music getting in his way. But asking his mother if he is “strong enough” to negotiate the “blues” he is feeling is heartbreaking. Part of Jamie T’s early rise to stardom was his ability to communicate his feelings of anxiety and panic through music.
He lyricised so unflinchingly about his mental health in the late-2000s that it almost subconsciously resonated with thousands of people, especially men. This is a modern-day example of this, showing commendable vulnerability in seemingly asking a loved one for support.
‘Thank You’ – Verse 3
“And yes I do mind if he smokes / And no I've never met Steve / And if he can't pronounce my name I bet like you / He'll call me Addison… Lee”
After mentioning a potential partner’s taxi rating (likely Uber) being “comfortably a 4.5”, he goes on to describe their relationship as like being her personal taxi driver. He jokes that her and her friend could call him taxi company Addison Lee, as they are taking advantage of the rides he is giving them.
It hints at these deeds taking place when they are half cut, requesting to light a cigarette in the car and struggling to speak without slurring. The lyrics are jovial and reflects this bizarre, moreish song.
‘Old Republican’ - Chorus
“Well I’m bored of cigarette smoking / And I miss you more when I get high / I wanna take away something / From nothing /Please don't pass me by”
Although one of the less relatable lyrics for non-smokers like myself, it’s the vocal conviction in this chorus that is so powerful. He is repeating it like a mantra, reminding himself of his negative feeling towards certain vices he relies too heavily
He wants to make the most of his time (“Please don’t pass me by”) and points to the irony of getting high when this in fact makes him pine for a loved one even more. This tune drops you right into the artist’s shoes, which is the result of brilliant songwriting.
There you have it, the best lyrics from The Theory Of Whatever from where I’m currently standing. It should also be said that I may have misinterpreted some of the lyrics I have handpicked, but the ambiguous beauty of lyricism means I can pretend I’m not wrong...
Please feel free to let us know what you made of this record, or indeed your own favourite lyrics on it, by tweeting us @BFloodlights.