Glen Hansard Mourns Jason Molina
Two years following his ruminative solo album, Rhythm and Repose, Glen Hansard has chosen to give his energies to a touching tribute to musician Jason Molina. Rather than an overwrought full-length album, Hansard has carefully chosen five of Molina’s songs to cover. Molina passed away in 2013. Hansard was not one of the many artists to contribute to the two-disc tribute to Molina, Farewell Transmission, released that same year. Hansard’s It Was Triumph We Once Proposed: Songs of Jason Molina is a thoughtful and warm bow to a colleague.
Triumph mulls in its sadness. The title alone reflects the mood–the proposed success was not achieved, and the voice we hear is adrift in what could have been. There are no celebratory songs. Each song brings it’s own trace of melancholy to the track. Hansard was wise to make Triumph an EP as anything longer would have pushed the listener’s patience and tread into maudlin territory.
The album opens with “Being in Love” and the first lyric is “Being in love means you are completely broken,” and Hansard sounds it. His greatest talent has always been his expressive voice, and here he sounds not like a broken lover, but a lost friend. He modulates to delicate sweetness with a lilting falsetto on “Farewell Transmission,” and makes a desperate plea for strength in “Hold On, Magnolia.”
While the music doesn’t vary too greatly–all but “White Sulfur” are practically indistinguishable upon first listen–Hansard’s voice subtly weaves distinction throughout, inflecting new meaning on a fellow artist’s work. For anyone who is not familiar with Molina or his catalog, Triumph intimates Molina’s death was everyone’s loss.