First record in four years with the help of a friend
Singer/songwriter Jesse Malin released his first album in four years, which consists of both new tracks and old, titled, Sunset Kids. Produced by Lucinda Williams, both Williams’ and Malin’s talents mix perfectly throughout this record. Malin is a master lyricist for his ability to paint a picture through the intensity of his lyrics, and Williams has the capability to express any emotion through a melody.
While there are 14 songs to this album, three of them are re-recorded tracks from Malin’s past albums including, “Meet Me at the End of the World Again” and “Revelations.” And despite having heard these tracks before, Malin spices them up with completely new arrangements.
The first new track that the album kicks off with is, “Room 13.” With its electric guitar riffs and soft percussion, Malin tells the story of contemplation and the confusion of love as he evinces imagery of a hotel room. He sings, “well I spent some time in a hotel room/ thinking about love/ and I walked away like those others do/ oh when it’s not enough,” with his raspy, rock sound accompanied with the harmony of Williams’ ethereal voice.
Malin collaborates with Green Day singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, on the track, “Strangers & Thieves.” They combine genres of rock and folk while reflecting on loneliness, friendship and confusion as they reminisce about their teen years. The song is comprised of both acoustic and electric guitar, percussion and rock sounding drums. As Malin and Armstrong harmonize, they sing, “I’ve been thinking ‘bout you lately/ I’m lost and I’m lonely/ in the tenements of life.”
Another track in the record is, “Chemical Heart,” which is an upbeat rock, punk bop. With its quick up and down strumming of acoustic guitar, accompanied by drums, electronic synth and violin, Malin’s raw raspy voice pervades. It can be inferred that the track tells the story of someone who is obsessed and whipped for a girl whose personality is rather too toxic to be in a relationship with. Malin sings, “to try to prove it different is the hardest part/ I’m calling it a chemical crime/ you got a lot of nothing but it’s mine, mine, mine.”
Malin explores more into his realm of lyricism with the track, “Shining Down.” It begins with a higher pitch electric guitar tone and strumming of acoustic guitar, as Malin sings, “we never got a break/ we live with our mistakes/ just icing on the cake and some cold heartbreak.” He then begins to express the loss of a loved one as he sings, “we never figured out why she had to go/ keep on shining down on my life.” This track symbolizes the notion of getting through hardships because of the angel of the lost loved one shining down on him.
This record is a strong one, and the collaboration between Malin and Williams is extremely complimenting to both artists. This 14 track album flies by in just over 46 minutes and is an essential record for rock and indie lovers.