This Is Your Brain on Power Pop*
People say Jenn Lindsay is a folkie. Well, you sure as hell can't tell it from last year's CD, Uphill Both Ways. Packed full of some of the best power pop in recent years, she alternately tornadoes and dances her way through a set of originals which while brash and in-your-face are haunting and introspective. This is damn good stuff. Damn good.
It's too bad that radio no longer has the power it once had because Lindsay could easily take AM by storm. Belong Alone has everything needed to catch the ear on a drive, car radio blaring--- intriguing vocals, great layout, superb organ, hooks. Forget that. The AM track has to be It Came 2 Me with its minimal but full production (how do you do that?) and unique phrasing on the chorus (“It came to me like I knew-ew-ew I was dyin'/It came to me like I was al-al-already dead”) and the killer break courtesy of the Beatles (“I was alone I took a ride I didn't know what I would find they-ey-eyair”). Stone killer. The title track is no slouch, either. Riding on choogling rhythm guitar, Lindsay lays vocals as unproduced as they could possibly be at your feet (well, the feet of your ears) and crawls under your musical skin. Beware of itch. As for Brain, whew. Brains on love are a bit harsher than brains on drugs, I guess.
Oh, it's not all rippin' pop. Lindsay turns it down (at least the volume) and takes a few sidesteps. I still haven't quite figured I Knew You yet, but it doesn't matter. It's good without my cranial ablutions. Lindsay's sense of lyric would make one laugh if not for the purity of delivery (rhyming anemone with enemy is classic). Christmas Song, Part 2 is a treasure, a winter song for the lost and lonely in pop idiom. You have to hear it to understand.
At approximately the same time (and possibly during the same sessions), Lindsay and Mason were recording tracks which evolved into the simultaneously released Perfect Handful. A bit more acoustic than Uphill, it has a slightly different feel but no less of the Lindsay creativity. The first track, Got My Baby, is about real love (which turns out to be a guitar, blowing to hell the male ego's obsession with whatever the hell it is obsessed with). Patience and Prudence could not have done much better on Bones than did Lindsay, it having that semi-fifties P&P lead-in to crunching chorus. Good Thing is so unassuming and a bit bumpkin that the novelty sucks you in whether you like it or not (“It's a good thiiiiing, too/I wouldn't wanna loooooose, you”). Not many show a sense of desolation which almost leaves you joyful, but Lindsay does. The plucked acoustic guitar beneath a voice of heartbreak (not to mention spot on harmonica) give Rain its own dimension. And don't ask me how Lindsay can give equal amounts of apathy and enthusiasm like she does on Don't You Know, but she does.
There is something very appealing about Lindsay's music and while I am not quite sure what it is, I have no time to ponder. She has released a plethora of CDs over the past few years and it will take time to get through those. Maybe after I've perused those, I'll think about it. That is, unless a new Lindsay disc hits the streets (we can hope).
Tell you what. This new world of music has connections even AM radio at its peak had. You can sample Lindsay's work at cdBaby. Two minutes may not give you a real idea of what she does (except maybe for the really short tracks), but it will give you some idea. Jenn Lindsay has something outside the norm. How will you know what you're missing until you give it a try?