Lights off, headphones on

by Jack James

supported by
wonderdog thumbnail
wonderdog Part Arab Strap, part Roy Harper, & lots of Scottish Sadcore. Favorite track: Learning My Lines.
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      £4 GBP  or more


I'll meet you out in the West End But I'm seeing myself there instead This night is feeling so smooth I'm thinking I just can't lose I don't know what to say to that I have to go now but we can talk about it when I'm back He sees her alone at the bar You can tell that he won't get very far Whatever he said makes her laugh I'm left standing with an empty glass I try to walk right on past But I'll have to say something When I avoid I get trapped By the ones that want to last They say you can't escape yourself But you can when you've got wealth It starts with a silent goodbye And ends with a feeling of cold
I’m looking out for some new city where I can go If they speak a different language, I’m sure I’ll pick it up Make a couple friends, people you don’t know I’ll have a different life there, separate and protected I didn’t mean to be so closed off, to close you out Ok it was on purpose, I wasn’t ready then But I am ready now, I’m coming around I hope we can talk more, it feels like we never met It’s like a different version of small town life But it’s just in this building and you don’t go out Because it makes you nervous So you change the way you walk As you pass that crowd of kids Who don’t know why they shout
Things always seem to work out best for you Putting no effort in that’s what you do When you left school you had no plans Your friends moved on you tried to be a man It’s decision time Working full-time for the rest of your life Wasn’t what you had in mind Heading down the stairs carrying crates of wine This double shift is too heavy for me This double life has me out on the line I can’t wait to get home to put on my headphones When you were idle You didn’t do the things you had planned Now you say you don’t have time to talk We’ve talked about this over coffee and beer You had your time to make your choice You thought it would last for more than a year You’re beyond help if you don’t listen You want advice? Just get on with your life And don’t feel sorry for yourself
Slipping through the part of the day The time when events take place Sleeping through most of the night Sleeping even when it’s light Drinking til they went away Drinking is why they stayed You need it to talk to that crowd And that’s why the music’s loud
Your girl is coming over, over to your place And you’re having trouble remembering her face It’s been a week since you’ve seen her And before that only once did you meet You were drunk and she was too Only for a short time did you speak So thank yourself for taking the picture On the camera that is now in your pocket And even as you look at her you don’t know how good you’ve got it Looking at that face you know you You’re going to drop it You meet somewhere you both know She’s never been to your house before You meet her at the olive tree And then you lead her to your door You say you’re sorry for the mess There’s garbage bags piled up on the floor Go in and take a seat You’d offer her a drink but you have none Delaying conversation Thinking about what’s to come You try to tell her something But you’ve got nothing to say Any little something But you’ve got nothing to say
Some guy’s out there lying Looking for his pay He tells them everything He knows just what to say Tying up his story Like the time he took a ride To that foreign country I was almost by his side There’s this crowd of people And they all like their drink I’m sure you’ll meet them It seems like they’re everywhere This guy he is with them I’m sure you know the type He likes to talk too much About his worthless life
Fed up with the same things I get a headache all the time I want to try something new would you mind if I changed her lines Don't say it that way it doesn't really feel Just keep your accent and see the deal you get A yellow man walked in and smoked his cigarette His hair is fading and his jacket is jet black He gives you money he always says "let's go" He has a country house by the river bank One reason at last for not having to quit It's no longer them pushing you for it He named that country house the Burnsy Lang retreat After the character he's seen in his dreams You stayed there one time and you stood upon a snake While collecting firewood and making the mistakes you made You swam that river to the other side You couldn't see below it was warm but it was grey It's like that girl you knew you couldn't see through her But you swam with her that night going through the dark
All I wanted is a chance But I had no opportunities There were people in the past Who know I can obsess about Mrs White took the edge off Does that mean I’m well rounded now? Grease him up, he’s ready for the world Now he’s sliding past all hunched over
I can't talk to you And it's sad cos I'm right for you I'm building up the courage having a drink or two And you're so beautiful I just can't stand it And you know when I'm looking at you, don't you? But don't worry I can't approach you I'm standing on the stage Reading out my lines This doesn't feel like last time It was so much easier when we were standing in line I made fun of your friend's dress I said yours was alright And you took that as a sign That night I said you could buy me a drink I said I was promoting a new kind of way to think I never did get that drink I'm standing on the stage Reading out my lines
I’m in my safe house Where I can see it all Because I’ve got the high ground It’s easier to fall We’re snowed in And locked out We’re breathing your smoke You don’t have to shout He started a fire I’m not sure how it was done He had coal in his pocket And some form of ignition He’s burning snow I’m in my safe house



Written by a friend

"I'm going to include this in the bio."


"I think it'd be a good way of introducing you as a person."

"It's a bit self indulgent..."

"Only a bit."

I've known Jack James for years now, we tried to convince Glasgow that you could play some rock music without some kind of personality gimmick. We figured out that you pretty much can't. That's the real problem here, I can't go on about how he was born on a farm and learned guitar from the music box and made his first guitar from a wooden fence and shoe string. Nor is Jack James from the hardest streets of Europe's knife crime capital Glasgow, always wishing to break away from blood covered stairwells.

Jack James is a regular dude, he learned guitar as a kid because he liked listening to good music and wished to make his own. He plays music to work out his feelings on life, love and friends. His first album "Lights off, headphones on" should be taken as directions for correct usage. Using minimal takes, a guitar and a microphone, he delivers starkly honest and emotional views on a century hell bent on creating mass consumable irony, evoking parallels to musicians such as Neil Young and Bon Iver.

"Thanks for doing this anyway, it's weird having people write about yourself."

"No Problem."

"But I'll probably change it anyway."


released May 16, 2009

Written: late 2007 - 13th May 2009
(Home) Recorded: 29th March 2008 - 13th May 2009
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

The songs you hear here were home recorded in a home.
The majority of this album was done in the first 5 months of 2009 because of unemployment due to moneygeddon.

Official Site:




Jack James Glasgow

Rangy songwriter.

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity”
-The Herald

"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever"
-Scots Whay Hae

"Jack James may be doomed"
-The List
... more

contact / help

Contact Jack James

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

Jack James recommends:

If you like Jack James, you may also like: