Album Review: Jane Marie – SONGS OF 2020

With the help of vocalist Jessica Mia, Jane Marie goes on a personal journey of life, love and loss on the new album

With the help of vocalist Jessica Mia, Jane Marie goes on a personal journey of life, love and loss on the new album

On the potent and at times devastatingly powerful new album SONGS OF 2020, Jane Marie‘s distinctive orchestral pop soundscapes and Jessica Mia‘s engrossing and passionate vocal delivery combine effortlessly to craft a sound that feels spellbinding, enchanting and often heartbreaking, traversing through themes like love and loss across 12 deeply personal tracks that leave an indelible mark on you as the album progresses.

The soft, longing nature of opener ‘SOMEBODY OUT THERE’ sets the tone in in alluring and heartfelt nature. Immediately showcasing a vulnerable honesty and charm through candid lyrics surrounding mental health and relationships, every inch of emotion within the lyrics is mirrored within the instrumentation and vocal performance, gripping you from the moment that the album starts.

Themes of feeling inadequate and pining after something a little bit more emerge throughout ‘THOUGHTS OF YOU’, continuing on from the sombre and often melancholy nature of the opener, and these feelings are explored further on ‘I ALREADY KNEW’, with the former track eventually giving way to a blissful declaration of love that serves as something of an answer to the earlier themes.

This makes for a really interesting and thoughtful juxtaposition that is only furthered by ‘CUPID’, a track that cements the emotional rollercoaster that the album takes you on, with the unpredictable nature of things like love and relationships making for a twisting and turning collection of tracks that has surprises around every corner.

The track delves into deeply emotional territory on ‘JUST BECAUSE’, a track about separation and the way that life ultimately has to go on in spite of the situations and distance that keep us from the things and people that we love. There is a powerful and building feel to the instrumental here, while still having the gorgeously nuanced appeal and charm that has given the album such a sense of character and distinctive appeal.

The most heart-wrenching, emotionally charged moment on the album however, comes in the form of ‘FADE AWAY’, a track that paints a painstakingly real and authentic picture of how it feels to lose both of your parents to Alzheimer’s Disease. The album as a whole is elevated by how clearly it is influenced and informed by personal experiences, but this track goes above and beyond in its show-stopping power and the hold that it has over you as a listener.

Themes of love and relationships breaking down re-emerge on ‘WHAT DO I DO’, a track that explores the panic that sets in as a situation seemingly reaches the point of no return and you reach the realisation that you don’t really know what to do with yourself. The typically strong performances and creative flavour of the expansive sound on the track make for a vibe and feel that really stands out from the rest of the album.

Love and loss are two central themes on the album throughout, with it being both celebrated and mourned at various points as the album progresses, and ‘HOW DO I MISS YOU’ and ‘OVERLOVING’ continue this theme. With the former exploring this in maybe the most head-on fashion of the album, written as a poignant ode to the person that you love when you can’t be with them. The slowed down and captivating tone of the track feels heartbreaking, and the pianos and strings really draw out the sense of gravity and sadness.

As the album edges towards its conclusion, ‘ALL ON MY OWN’ feels like a cathartic acceptance of it being time to move on and tackle life solo. While the track has a real sense of sadness to the narrative and it has an element of betrayal to it, it also kind of feels somewhat liberating and empowering, with the feeling on the album being more headstrong and assertive than ever.

‘HOME’ is a track that feels like the emotional climax of the album, a poised and wonderfully composed track that has an understated, quiet sense of power and dynamism, especially through the vocals. All of the strife and hardship on the album seems to pay off here as the vocals defiantly proclaim that they’re coming home, wiser and more understanding thanks to everything that has happened across the span of the album.

The album closes out with ‘MY FEELINGS FOR YOU’, a stylistic shift from the rest of the tracks that features additional vocals from Andres Guazzelli. There is a theatrical and more animated feel to the track than the rest of the album, with its almost musical-like nature providing a final moment of levity following an emotionally taxing collection of tracks, and a really unique and different moment.

All in all, SONGS OF 2020 feels like a snapshot of the life of Jane Marie from the time, aided by an unwaveringly personal and genuine feel to the tracks that gives it a real feeling of honesty and charm. There are wins and losses along the way, love that is won and lost and roadblocks along the way, but the artist’s ability to take her experiences and the emotion felt and pour them into songs is unmistakable, and makes for more than a handful of memorable moments.