Jamie T - 'Emily's Heart'
With good friends, you don't have to judge them on what they do, you love them for who they are and how they make you feel whenever they're around. They can mess up, they can excel, you're just happy to be along for the ride.
Jamie T feels like a good friend to me. I've never met him personally, never had any contact at all, in fact. But I'm always pleased to see him, always keen to hear his latest tall story or dewey-eyed ode to happier days. I like the cut of his jib, the things he notices, the fact that he's strong enough to admit weakness, the fact that he's a geezer who can write a tender, string-laden ditty like this and not go all EPIC/HUGE about it.
Hell, he's even toned down the swearing, so that everyone can enjoy its scuffed magic, and it doesn't mess with the sense of the thing or sanitise the reality of the situation in the song at all.
(Here's the video. "Mum I TOLD you we should've gone to Disneyland!")
Not that there's a lot you can do to sanitise a song sung from the floor, by a singer who is dying, after being shot by his girlfriend for messing her about. It doesn't matter if the bullets are metaphorical or real, the message is the same: some rules are not there to be broken, and if you do, the consequences will be dire.
There's no bitterness though. Jamie accepts his punishment with good grace, realising that he always knew that Emily was hardcore, and he was a fool to himself to try and get away with it. And it's that lack of self-pity, that calm, clear-eyed understanding that really, he got what was coming to him, that he knew the risks when he did what he did, and that Emily is quite right to BE hardcore about her own finer feelings, it's all of that which makes this such a beautiful thing.
No-one is saying guns are good, or that shooting your low-down cheating boyfriend is the right thing to do in any circumstances, it's just a song about that moment when you realise you're the agent of your own downfall. Somehow a slap on the face wouldn't get the message across in the same way.
Just as well they're not real bullets anyway, we'd all miss a good friend like Jamie something awful.