Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jennifer O'Connor

Still catching up on a pretty busy end of last week, here's my review of Jennifer O'Connor's I Want What You Want, out since late last year on her own Kiam label.

Jennifer O’Connor
I Want What You Want

“I want what you want,” Jennifer O’Connor confides twice, first in the brief solo guitar and voice treatment of “Another Day” at the beginning of this fifth solo album, and later in a keyboard-driven, pop-leaning reprise of the same song near the end. It’s an interesting sentiment, one that relinquishes, right off the bat, most of the self-centered egotism of contemporary confessional pop. It acknowledges, in a way that it’s hard to imagine Dylan or Darnielle or Ryan Adams or any of our male lyrics-oriented balladeers doing, that the other is primary, that his (or her) desires take precedence, even before knowing exactly what those desires are. O’Connor never really elaborates on what is wanted, or how the whole thing plays out (it seems to end badly). But she does set up a very interesting dynamic, one in which the voice we hear is self-effacing, reticent, and not always the hero of its own stories. All but one of these songs are written in the first person, yet that first person remains in the background, detached, acting mostly as an observer.


"Running Start"

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