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Artists such as Matthew Sweet and Ben Gibbard have definitely been hailed as some of the kings of pop. A fairly illustrious title, it really means that catchy, sunny, and distinct melodies are being cooked up by them and delivered to the listeners that are looking mostly for an uplifting and bright spot in their day. Recently singing backup vocals for Liza Minnelli on the “Tonight Show”, Jay Jacobson is a pop star who has also taken the stage in dramatic performances such as “Much Ado About Nothing”. Before sitting down to do a track review I had been to festivals with abstract bikes, Wonderful acoustic performances, and the remaining sunlight of summer in full supply. Then I gave Jay a listen as I thought about the oncoming fall season, and everyone going back to school in droves that were themselves going to need some genuinely uplifting pop.
The first track “I Need a Change” starts nice and heavy on the strings and ultimately leads into the hook “Deal me a hand I’ve never been dealt before”. The production on the bottom layer is a bit like 1990’s sensation Del Amitri, who gave us the iconic “Stone Cold Sober”. The choice of drum machine and soft and rhythmic vocals leave the overall vibe and tone jangly and bright; this track would be a perfect choice for a television show intro or tragically hip romantic movie score. The theme of truly needing a fresh start is ever present all around us, and the delivery of this tune is pretty strong and characteristic.
The other track that I wanted to devote my immediate attention to was “The Ride”. Having a well layered background akin to a large act like Coldplay, the wide and reverb laden drum sound is my favorite thing about the song, setting the tone for a very ambient result in the track. Swimming the roughest of seas with a trusted partner is the valuable top layer theme of the song, an optimistic number that is incredibly radio friendly and has a very large potential for listener reach. I actually see parallels to this song and “Let the Rain” also on the album “The Ride”.
For an artist that says he wanted to write about life with all its bumps and wrinkles included, the songs here seem to capture those types of sentiments well. Voted “One to watch” in the UK, after listening to this album I heard a voice that loves not only theatrical novelty, but spreading happiness as well. It takes quite a bit to come from the stage and spotlight of performance and plays to creating a product in the studio that sounds good enough to rock at any time of day. Jay has moved his influences all the way from Philly to the West Coast to create his warm and influential new record; listening should evoke a high risk of encountering gentle tones, warm vibes, and desire to hit repeat.
Official website: www.JayJacobson.com