Joan has fucking killed it with this one. Let’s get weird and honest motherfuckers.
First off, I couldn’t get through this album when I first heard it. I enjoyed the beats and bass. And this production is tighter than a college speedo on an overweight man going through a midlife crisis. But I’m a total douche bag when it comes to anything that sounds like a pop record. There’s too much out there pretending to be new, fresh, and crisp that just isn’t. By the time I hear anything resembling pop, a piece of my brain shuts off. I missed out on this album the first time through because of this.
Don’t worry, you can still listen to this album without trying to understand the lyrics. The instrumentation is great on this bitch. But the real beauty of this album is in the lyrics. This shit has teeth. It’s a less airy version of Feist with a pair of jagged cojones. It has honesty. It’s not just pretending to be honest. So many pop albums have the mentality of a stoned teddy bear, “I know we can all mess up sometimes, but, let’s just cuddle!” This isn’t Joan … by fuck’s luck … this isn’t her at all.
In this album, she talks about how stupid she can feel by still falling in love. How, in the end, she always ends up alone, feeling walked on, and pathetic. Then, there are raw, raunchy fucking sex songs like “Steed (for jean genet)” which references, you guessed it, Jean Genet, or more particularly his book, “Our Lady of the Flowers”. She makes an allusion to Leonard Cohen’s line, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. She expresses her sincere thanks to her father in the song, “What was it like?” But most of all, she pours out her fucking heart about the times she convinced herself to fall in love with some asshole, convinced herself they are way better than they are, and then try to face the world again knowing that everyone else talked shit about how dumb you were the entire time.
If you are not like Joan, you know someone like Joan. Those people that sell themselves short for a dream of something, or someone, new. A person who always wears rose coloured glasses so they never see the red flags. The person who sacrifices everything for the relationship, and in the end, they can’t even recognize who the fuck they are anymore. This is Joan on this album. She’s raw, real, and relatable. After listening to the lyrics and understanding what they say, the real amazing part is that these songs can sound so upbeat. The last line on the album says, “through the snowfall, I am listening, and hope you’re listening too”. To imagine that I heard this album once and didn’t give the lyrics another thought. When this last line came on I was like, “hold on, I think I just missed some essential shit”.
Take time with this one, it requires more than one listen.