Jennifer O’Connor’s Lyrics Cut Straight to the Heart of a Desperate Situation


Jennifer O’Connor
Surface Noise
Kiam

Courtesy of Kiam Records

       
Thanks to her dry, deadpan delivery, Jennifer O’Connor could fool a careless listener into thinking she’s cool and detached. Au contraire. On her fine sixth album, and first outing in five years, this unassuming yet gifted singer-songwriter quietly injects her catchy folk-pop with shots of undiluted raw emotion, telling gripping stories of hearts in turmoil without slipping into cheesy melodrama. As evidenced by the use of her music in an iPhone ad and such TV shows as Orange Is the New Black, O’Connor can craft smooth melodies you’ll want to hum all day, but her real gift is the casually tossed-off lyric that cuts straight to the heart of a desperate situation. “Where do you go, when the road ahead just ends?/’Cause you made the same wrong turn over and over again,” she murmurs in “The Road,” while “It’s Gonna Get Worse” finds her calmly asking, “Tell me why you stand there, staring at your feet,” adding tersely, “Take out the trash.” Elsewhere, the hushed closing track “Black Sky Blanket” would do Lou Reed proud. Title to the contrary, Surface Noise is insightful, subtle, and intriguing.
 
 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate