It’s hard to believe that I haven’t written anything about Ms. Youngs yet, Fangirls. Since my days as a super cool middle schooler, I’ve been loving up Jenny’s music and have adored watching her career move forward. This week, she released Slack Tide, a magnificent EP that I haven’t stopped listening to since it’s delivery on Tuesday.
The five track EP puts together three new versions of old favorites, one brilliant new song, and one cover. It’s unbelievably delightful. After not having much new music from Jenny since 2012, this gets my heart pounding. And weeping. And shouting. Just as Jenny’s music is prone to do. I have yet to find an artist quiet like her. Her music combines things from all corners of music, and has these kind of odd nautical & whimsical elements that I find interestingly irresistible. Her songwriting is raw & honest, but in some sort of non-angsty way. I don’t know how she does it, dudes. When everyone else pours out their soul, it can sound a bit too uncomfortable or whiny. Jenny’s music hits a sweet spot between relatable emotion and story telling. Slack Tide embraces this and a whole other talent that she seems to have mastered.
As I mentioned, Slack Tide has three songs from previous releases. They’re all new versions. Rerecorded, rearranged, made-over. Jenny Owen Youngs has this ability to brilliantly recycle songs. She picks the songs up and releases them back out to us as completely new versions. It’s like their almost a totally different song. They’re just, if not more, as exciting as hearing something new from her. When I saw the track listing, I couldn’t wait to hear what she had done to the older songs. Did she strip them down to acoustic versions? She she blow them out into giant, lushly arranged jams? Well, she did a few different things. For the most part, she calms things down a bit. She takes the pounding “Born to Lose” and transforms it into a more low key, gypsy sounding tune. “Led to the Sea”, a song that already has a few different existing versions, is also stripped down a bit into a very flowy ballad. Acoustic guitar, cello, feathery harmonies. It’s a very pretty, pleasing version that ties with the other fantastic ones she’s released. The most turned down redo ,though, is “Pirate”. Before a up tempo, blow out of a hit, now a quiet & honest portrayal. It’s down right beautiful.
As good as she is as renovating her older gems, the real star of Young’s new release is the new original “Over the Bow”. I find myself revisiting it again and again and again. It swells & calms in these fucking perfect ebbs & flows with the verses & choruses. The melody catches somewhere down in my soul, the arrangement makes me want to simultaneously cry & grin the biggest grin my face will allow. Somewhere around the 3 1/2 minute mark, the most gorgeous & gradual explosion arrives. Jenny’s voice hits these gritting cracks then booms into a passionate howl. Somewhere deep inside, my Fangirl heart is glowing.
Needless to say, Slack Tide is another outstanding release from Jenny Owen Youngs. It’s brilliant and intense and is nothing shy of the talent that I have learned to expect from an artist like her. If you have yet to fall in love with Jenny Owen Youngs, I’m not exactly sure what you’re waiting for, but you better get to adoring this woman & her music. Slack Tide is available on iTunes, Spotify, and all the lovely places the internet delivers music.
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