Welcome to the third and final instalment in our ‘mini-series’ of recent releases by popular UK acts on the subject of love…albeit from very different perspectives.
Today, though, we’re turning to Jess Glynne, who wrote “Thursday” along with Ed Sheeran.
I first remember hearing Jess Glynne a few years ago on Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and was immediately attracted to the tone of her voice. She’s since gone on to become the first British female solo artist to have seven UK Number One singles to her name.
Alongside “Rather Be”, Jess Glynne has enjoyed major chart successes with songs like “Hold My Hand” and “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”.
Unlike many popular female artists at the moment who spend most of their songs reaching for the high notes, Jess Glynne sings powerfully, but in quite a low register, and with a slight quiver to her voice which I find really appealing.
Her voice is tailor-made for conveying emotion…an intriguing mix of vulnerability and defiance…which also has an endearing crack now and again which ramps up the emotional content ever higher.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of Jess Glynne. Her most recent release is “Thursday”, and it’s a real tear-jerker.
Both the vulnerability and the defiance I associate with Jess Glynne’s songs are very much to the fore in “Thursday”. At its heart, it’s quite a sad song. But it tells the story of someone’s dawning realisation that they don’t need anyone else to make them feel loved.
Their starting point is that they need to love themselves.
“Thursday” tells us about someone forced to re-evaluate themselves now they’re on their own…the lyrics imply this isn’t the first time the singer has been through this sort of emotional turmoil, but that isn’t made explicit.
We do know how she’s feeling right now, though…
I won’t wear makeup on Thursday
I’m tired of covering up
I’m tired of feeling so broken
I’m tired of falling in love
Her heart’s been broken, but she’s trying to carry on as if nothing major has happened.
We all know how to pretend everything’s OK on the outside when we know on the inside things are most definitely not OK.
We go through the motions…getting dressed, driving to work, trying to make it through the day without letting our mask crack, revealing the broken heart we’re carrying inside.
Sometimes that’s because we don’t want to burden people who might be coping with struggles of their own. More often it’s because we think nobody cares.
Putting your vulnerability on the line when you’re fairly sure you’ll get a sympathetic hearing and someone will hold you close until you feel better is one thing.
To put your vulnerability on the line, only to be met with disdain for your weakness and insecurity…that’s the sort of experience most of us only want to go through once.
It becomes safer just to pretend everything’s OK when it isn’t…that way we don’t get hurt twice over — the first time when we’re left behind after somebody decides we’re not worth their affection and attention, the second time when we’re mocked for being unworthy of anyone’s affection and attention and told we’ll never be loved again.
If we’re lucky, after a while, we get to the place Jess Glynne sings about in “Thursday”…
Sometimes I’m shy and I’m anxious
Sometimes I’m down on my knees
Sometimes I try to embrace
All my insecurities
So I won’t wear makeup on Thursday
’Cause who I am is enough
By this stage she’s learned to live with herself…learned to acknowledge life’s ups and downs…reached the point where she doesn’t want to go on pretending.
So she’s not putting on her makeup on Thursday.
She’s not trying to paint a perfect picture to the world at large while she’s still hurting on the inside.
She’s finally accepted herself for who she is…and finally realises if nobody wants to love her for who she is, the fault lies with them, not with her…
You know sometimes I feel lonely
Could do with the company
Oh, I get high when I’m down
But you know that’s alright with me
So I will do nothing on Thursday
Sit alone and be
After a life spent gauging herself by how much someone else loves her, she’s started to gauge her life by how much she loves herself.
Being on your own might not sound like a great place but, if you’ve been through this sort of experience yourself, you’ll know it means you’ve reached a turning point.
Things have stopped getting worse and the chart has started to show signs of ticking up a little.
You’re still on your own, but you’re dealing with it. You’re happy with who you are. You’ve accepted yourself, for all your imperfections and insecurities.
You’re ready for love again…
I wanna laugh, I don’t wanna cry
Don’t want these tears inside my eyes, yeah
Don’t wanna wake up and feel insecure
I wanna sing, I wanna dance
I wanna feel love inside my hands again
I just wanna feel beautiful
That’s why I like Jess Glynne’s “Thursday”…and in fact most of Jess Glynne’s songs. There’s always an empowering message for her listeners…the sense that you are enough, whatever anybody else thinks.
What other people think doesn’t matter any more. We’ve reached the point where we see the beauty in ourselves, just as we are.
I hope I get there one day myself.
Here’s my favourite British pop act of the moment…it’s the grounded, soulful, empowering sound of Jess Glynne…
(The Spotify track is the official version, but I’ve also linked to a charming video of Jess Glynne singing “Thursday” live accompanied just by co-writer Ed Sheeran on acoustic guitar and occasional backing vocals — this showcases her wonderful voice beautifully.)
The video is below but if you prefer, you can enjoy the song on Spotify here… https://open.spotify.com/track/77nXj2IoswHUcgwh0tw83O
PS — just before we get to the video, if you enjoyed this article, please give it a “clap”…or even more than one if you’re feeling kind. You can also follow me on Medium (here) or Twitter (here) to get new articles as soon as they’re published.