A Musical Diary
Self-titled albums are typically the mark of a debut, but Jen Cloher is thinking about herself. She’s smarter than other artists who simply throw their name on an album, without inspiration for a title name. Sure, a lot of self-titled albums are fantastic (Marshall Crenshaw, to name one), but this album does something that not all self-titled albums do well; she tells the listeners about herself, not just the music she likes to write. There is no crime in not making a self-titled album a musical diary, but man, when it does happen, it makes albums like Jen Cloher feel and sound even better.
The focus on herself rarely gets perceived as egocentric (with the opening lyrics of “Kinda Biblical” as an exception), but rather as someone split between lamenting about her dissatisfaction and the hunger for happiness. In other words, she tells all. Sometimes she gets lost in her thoughts, shown when she nearly gets covered by the instrumentals, or when her voice rides the line of singing and talking with expression.
This album, while good and honest, doesn’t have an order that fits the point of recognition. Frankly, the tracks could have been put in any order and the album’s strength would’ve remained unchanged. The standout track is “Sensory Memory,” which is actually one of the shortest tracks on an album where most tracks are over four and-a-half minutes long. This one hugs the listener and cries in his/her arms, while also looking back with nostalgic joy. However, the album does blend together and makes picking a standout track more difficult. But, a true reflection of one’s life can make it hard to pick out the single best moment, at least for Cloher.
Jen Cloher is a simple, yet true effort by the singer and one worth checking out.