Monday, December 3, 2012

Due to a web address error, we're republishing Jann Arden


Jann Arden: Time for Mercy


Jann Arden, a legend in her native Canada, recently inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame, remains painfully unknown in the United States. Here we'll look at her first two releases.
Time for Mercy, Jann Arden's first Canadian release, starts off with "I Would Die For You" introducing Jann to her audience in full bloom. As beautiful a love song as has ever been written, it is further accentuated by Jann's pleading, hauntingly beautiful voice. There has never been a singer who could convey such plaintive sorrow with the slightest inflections in her tone. This song was so well done that it was later re-released on Jann's Living Under June album, which became her American debut. The rest of the songs stand up just as well. "Waiting For Someone "is another plaintive song of longing and desperation. Her voice is particularly beautiful when she sings back-up vocals for herself, altering the tone so she harmonizes with her leads like an emotional echo machine.
This album reveals Jann's country roots, with songs like "Waiting for Someone " which would sound comfortable on a top forty country station. But Jann is not a country singer and this isn't a country album. Jann Arden, in her soul is a rock and roll singer, and when she rocks like on "Give Me Back My Heart," she can be explosive, with that dynamically painful voice breathing life into some rocking rhythms. "Will You Remember Me," another midtempo rocker, is easily on par with any of the efforts of the more successful female singer/songwriters that flooded the market in the late 1990's.
The only track which doesn't work is "We Do Some Strange Things," a plodding country-tinged number that doesn't have enough life in it to be interesting. Even there, however, you can see what an amazing instrument Jann's voice is, moaning and squeaking, cracking and purring like a fine woodwind. Overall, this was a stunningly strong debut for a major talent who deserves to find a wider audience.





Jann Arden: Living Under June

With her American debut, Jann came out in full force. The opening track, "Could I Be Your Girl," rocks hard and fierce, displaying all the typical Jann Arden writing quirkiness and vocal musicianship. Lost in the deluge of female singer/songwriter releases by Jewel and Alanis, this song easily should have been recognized as one of the better songs released that year. The rest of the album lives up to the promised hinted at in her debut. Jann managed to balance her love of the slower, country ballads with some fast-kicking grooves. Interspersed through the album, songs like "Looking For It", "Living Under June" and "Gasoline," punctuate her yearnings with moments of pure acoustic power.
"Insensitive "was the lone hit off this album, bouncing off the movie soundtracks and onto MTV, which served to awaken listeners to Jann's presence, but it certainly isn't the strongest track. "Gasoline" blows it away, with her voice in fine form, squeaking over muscular guitar riffs. "Good Mother" and "I Would Die For You" (culled from her Canadian release) stand out as other particularly stellar cuts.
It's a pleasure to see Jann pull it all together for this album, clearly her strongest work. If you only buy one Jann Arden album, this is it, but hopefully after you've had a chance to immerse yourself in Jann's stark, emotional landscapes, you'll search out her other albums as well. --Racer
Buy here: Time for Mercy


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