Single Review: James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Single Review: James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go

Amidst rumours of plagiarism, James Arthur's new single is a strong effort that deserves plaudits, says Grace Gardner

James Arthur’s new single, ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, featured on his album Back From the Edge, sparked a very positive reaction among listeners. Of course, there is a huge stigma surrounding X Factor winners, as they all tend to disappear and turn out to be a complete waste of talent. James’ comeback with this new single has reassured us he’s back and no, his talent will definitely not be going to waste.

‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ is a romantic single about a couple meeting and spending the rest of their lives together. When described like this it sounds very clichéd and no different to the other millions of love songs out there. And yet this track refuses to be cheesy or soppy and in fact successfully comes across as rather genuine. Maybe it is the stripped back guitar with the subtle strings accompanied by James’ husky, distinctive vocals that makes this track stand apart from the other love songs, or perhaps it is the downplayed, simplistic lyrics. The line, ‘When you looked over your shoulder / for a minute I was stone cold sober’ demonstrates how the lyrics are capturing the smallest of intimate moments and by building upon this and putting these moments together, the track assembles into something quite sincere.

Over the last couple of weeks, following the release of this track, James faced accusations of copying The Script’s single, ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’. When comparing the two tracks, it is evident that the chords are the same but the melody, lyrics and overall sound created is something very different. Both tracks are commendable but they are very different and it seems unfair that James’ new comeback could be potentially tainted by these accusations. Music is a craft and a skill, and yes, the two songs may be similar but James’ authentic lyrics and vocals scream individuality.

‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ is a fine example of James’ talent being put to good use. This track represents his impressive comeback and that, it is safe to say, wherever James has been hiding since his X Factor days has done some good. This is a great example of an individual within the music industry combatting the stigma that now surrounds reality talent shows, as nobody can deny that this track holds great potential for the rest of the album.

English Literature Student / Singer / Songwriter / Pianist


3rd November 2016 at 4:44 pm

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