Jack Garratt has been reckoning with himself for his entire life
“I believe that my goal, and my journey in life, is to accept and love the things I hate about myself – to love that part of me that hates me,” the 28-year-old shares, chatting with me from the floor of his studio. “If I can’t do that, [then] that voice in me is so strong, and it’s so consistent, it will overpower me. The only way I can control it is to accept it for what it is and ask it what it needs from me to be able to get through the day.”
It’s a loaded statement – this idea of accepting oneself for who he is, flaws and all – and it’s one Garratt proceeds to unpack layer by layer, both in our conversation and throughout his newly-released second studio album. Released June 12, 2020 via Island Records / Interscope Records, Love, Death & Dancing is a remarkably compact work of art for what it is. The artist’s follow-up to 2016’s debut album Phase – for which he won both the BBC Sound of 2016 poll, as well as the BRIT Awards’ Critics’ Choice Award – is relentless and indefatigably intense in its expression of self-reflection and self-discovery. Jack Garratt plummeted into his darkest depths, and while he didn’t plan for it to go that way, Love, Death & Dancing is sort of his redemption story, telling the tale of how he fell and climbed his way back up.
While “Time” is a deserving lead single, it is not the sole focal point on the record: Whether you’re bathing in the sweet, cool light of “Mara,” the turbulent tranquility of “Doctor Please” (“If home is where the heart is, mine’s falling down… but a sign outside in your handwriting says that it’s alright not to be okay“), or the raw and transparent aching of “Circles,” the record soars with a life and light of its own.
Garratt’s debut album (and its associated accolades) cast a tremendous shadow over his mental health and emotional state, but he has come out from under the specter of Phasevictorious – an assertive, self-assured, more confident version of himself than ever before.