I listen to a lot of music. I listen to all genres all day. This week (to name a few) I listened to Willie Nelson, St. Vincent, Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band, Dillinger Escape Plan, Langhorne Slim, Regina Spektor and WAY too much (not enough) Toots and the Maytals. I listen to music to dance, to tune out the pointless conversations surrounding me at work, to feel alive, to disappear in my own head and to make every moment in life that much better. The best reason to listen to music is to feel a connection with a song or an album or an artist. Good music, like all art, is about being vulnerable and putting your feelings out there to the world. There are few things more courageous a person can do then share their heart with the world.
In her new album Overgrown, Jen Miller shows the world that you can be strong, independent and brave and yet remain emotional and vulnerable. After a great breakout EP Forget the Dirty Hearts, Miller is back thanks to the crowdfunding of her ever growing and loyal fan base.
Miller has clearly started to find herself in this second album. She has a sound that pulls from many genres and reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor and at times subtle hints of Explosions in the Sky. In Overgrown, the Ohio native really showcases her ability as a singer/songwriter and is a healthy reminder of how good indie-pop really can be. It is an album of self discovery, not just for the artist but the listener. Her work reflects so many of the feelings and thoughts every twenty-something year old deals with every day. She touches on the feeling of our carefree youthfulness and the residual feeling after a loss without closure. She reminds us of the duality of our own personal identities and the times we all said “fuck it” and made out with that person at the bar…even though you knew you would regret it (but it was totally awesome anyway). Overgrown, has got it all.
Jen Miller’s new album is available now for preorder on iTunes and will be released on Monday, July 14. Here is a look at some of my favorite tracks on this album…
“We Do it Anyways…”
This track brings me back to college. Drinking with my best friends, dancing till 1 am, streaking, and finishing the night with pizzas on the porch and listening to the best music we could find with the best people and talking about “the real shit” that was weighing on our minds. I remember those heady conversations on the porch or the basement and thought, at the time, that I had the pressure of the world on my shoulders. We would talk all night trying to find ourselves and trying to find which direction to turn. Looking back…we were just kids. We had nothing to worry about. Jen sums this feeling up on We Do It Anyways… She reminds us “Life gets heavy when we grow old. Don’t know which way is right and which way is home.”
The title track is one that you can feel that Miller sank her whole heart into. It elicits personal memories of relationships (past and present) whether you want it to or not. It talks about real, honest love. (not the kind from a Taylor Swift song, but the kind that makes you feel alive.) It looks at the reality of love and what happens to our relationships as we grow personally and seek to follow our own paths. Overgrown isn’t about the sadness of growing apart, it highlights the fact that even though it is over, and you have both changed and grown, it doesn’t mean what once was, wasn’t real and honest love.
“Love Me Slow”
By far the catchiest tune on this whole EP and one of my favorites. Not only is it fantastic acoustic plucking followed by foot tapping instrumentals, Love Me Slow tells the story of time in almost every relationship when you agree to take it slow. We have all come out of a bad break up and are hesitant to enter into the next one. We try as hard as we can to not go all in to the relationship for fear of getting hurt. But there are those times, no matter how hard you try, you fall in love in the biggest way and it hits you “like a shark bite”.
This is a beautifully deep and almost haunting song. It pulls at your heart with the feeling the one you loved is no longer being there. The haunting aspect of the tune is the feeling that there is no closure. That there once was love, but it is gone, without notice. Miller’s lyrics present the scene in Edinburgh so beautifully. You feel as though you are standing alone on cobblestone street surrounded by buildings that stood for centuries. Like a phantom limb you can feel someone standing next to you but when you look they are gone. It’s as if you can feel that someones hand in yours as you stand in the quiet solemn streets of Scotland at night only to look down and find your hand is empty. This track may be the ode to the one that got away, or maybe just a hope for closure for something that was real and true. Either way…it is powerful and moving.
Overgrown is an honest look into the heart of our generation. It is full of pure happiness and shots at the bar. It is full of the struggle of finding yourself while trying to find love and live your life with someone as they try to do the same. It’s about the reality of the world we live in and being not just decent to others, but being great to others. To be honest, this album, to me, is about being twenty-something and doing your best to figure your shit out.
Stop what you are doing, and buy this album. I promise, it is the real deal.
Check her out at JenMillerMusic.com. Read her story, listen to a few tracks and Pre-Order her new album ($9) for the release on Monday, July 14!!