JAM THE TRACKS WHILE YOU READ
"GREAT ADD YOU SAUCY MINX" - BEN
JUMPING OFF MY TONGUE
JULY 27TH, 2023
Across the table someone blows a paper straw wrapper at you. A friend flicks your ear. You look down and notice you’ve stepped in a small piece of gum. These are minor annoyances. But maybe it’s just the world wanting to get your attention, to wake you up, shake the doldrums from your doom scrolling. Maren Hill’s latest 7 track album is here to do that. Wake you up. Not annoy you. It’s a surprise on every level. Maren has that smoky vocal mix of Norah Jones and Roisin Murphy that I love. Her melodies and lyrics collide in a funky melange of jazz tinged neo-soul and indie pop. It’s beatific Ibiza beats by way of midwestern melancholy. I’ve had these 21 minutes of joy jams on repeat for days.
Album opener, “Usual”, bemoans the game of relationships, “the push and pull” and dicey rolls on a game board that has lost its charm. “All these bad ideas and chemicals / Who knew a work of art could be so flammable.” And while the lyrics are fire the pyrotechnics of production make this a great showcase of Maren’s ability for creating groove amidst relationship grist. In “Shades” self-control towards love starts to slip even as she’s calling out her partner to stop preening and take off the stupid sunglasses. “I loved you then / But I held my bluff / Now I’m buckling a life vest / And jumping off my tongue.”
I’m convinced Maren Hill has breakout potential. This project has so much going for it. She exudes that artist mentality to morph and change when and where the muse dictates. Future music may double down on the retro funk and we find her swimming in deep R&B pools. Or, maybe she strips it back further to soft jazzy coffee house spaces. Either way, I’m a convert. I will follow. Life vest or no.
- TRENT RYAN SMITH