Jennifer Knapp, |
Love Comes Back Around
(Graylin Records, 2017)
Discussing this new album, Jennifer Knapp told Curve magazine "Love is universal, that's why you see it so much in the music that we have ... where it contracts and where it succeeds and where it fails. It's the greatest muse for any musician in the history of writing, because everybody knows that experience. And that is what art does -- it connects people. To me, succeeding means being able to connect a diverse range of people through a universal experience. I'm grateful for music, in that sense."
Love Comes Back Around is an album of songs that celebrate love. These are not songs that use the cliches that make up so many love songs; they don't preach that love will cure whatever ails you. Like all of her songs, these explore the complexities, the tough times as well as the good ones. They revel in confusion, in wonder, in the search as well as in the discovery. As Knapp says, "It's not just sex, it's not just physical relationships. It's hard work. It's loss, it's forgiveness, it's a lot of things wrapped up in one."
The title song, for example, isn't about the obvious things its name suggests. Instead it's about the near miraculous fact that that sometimes when you've finally gotten outside of yourself enough to pull it together somewhat, the person you loved is still there.
The album is surprising. Instead of the straight ahead folk-rock style Americana one would expect from Knapp, this one is deeper, more textured and adventurous. A sly trombone sneaks into "Don't Believe Me," a song about how the singer will try to deceive her lover, insisting she can do it all herself and doesn't need anyone on her side, but then, in the chorus, asks that the partner not believe her, to see through her deceptions. "Forget the Past" is about the way the people we were (or thought ourselves to be) continue to haunt us. The singer claims that "Things would be a little easier ... without the voices in my head ... no telling which one's mine." It's about the necessity to forget the past and create something new.
I have no idea how autobiographical this record is. All I can tell is that it has the feel of authenticity to it; it comes across as real and true. And regardless of the degree to which it is autobiographical, in the attempt to locate her own truth, Jennifer Knapp has created a universal experience; we all will find our own stories told in these fine songs on this brilliant album.
music review by
Michael Scott Cain
8 July 2017
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