Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts

Visual Illustration Thursday!…


Katherine St Asaph: Remember how the Internet was supposed to be this glorious medium through which all the unsung geniuses could sing out? Well, it’s 2010, the latest viral fad is a fucking Old Spice ad, and this pablum is what gets chosen for fame. MySpace and CD Baby and SoundCloud and Bandcamp all froth with fascinating music with mere hundreds of plays, yet here we are, discussing this technically competent, terminally boring piano dreck because someone on a TV show has no initiative and no imagination. Fuck the long tail; it has failed us all.

Jessica Popper: After hearing this song used to soundtrack a performance on So You Think You Can Dance recently, I immediately had to find out more about Christina. The song had managed to make what was only a fairly good performance feel actually quite moving. It seems like I wasn’t the only one whose interest was peaked, as the single shot into the charts after the SYTYCD appearance, despite Christina not even having a record deal. Jar of Hearts is one of the best adult contemporary ballads I’ve heard in ages and certain to soon become a staple of TV drama series soundtracks.

Martin Skidmore: An indie singer-songwriter, with very classy strings backing her, singing strongly with plenty of feeling. It does sound very much like the kind of thing you’d get at the end of an American drama, over the moving climax as someone walks sadly away. This image probably doesn’t help me like it, but I do anyway. She can write and sing, and the restrained backing is excellent. An excellent example of something that isn’t generally my thing.

Hazel Robinson: Like a moth to a flame I was immediately drawn to the faintly gothic premise of this song. Sadly, it transpires to be a boring piano ballad worthy of the X Factor winner. I kept hoping it might bring out a massive bat-encrusted Meatloaf ending, but to absolutely no avail.

Doug Robertson: This song was clearly destined to be sung whilst stood in the spotlight, fists clenched as you make anguished, imploring gestures towards the stalls as act 1 of the musical tries to come to an emotional close. Not any musical in particular, mind, just musicals in general. Even one featuring puppets.

Rebecca Toennessen: I’m not a fan of ballads. I’m not a fan of most female singers. I’m not a fan of ballads sung by female singers, especially when “collecting your jar of hearts and tearing love apart” are in the lyrics. I would much prefer if the chap in question collected actual hearts in an actual jar. More sci-fi pop songs please. Less of this.

Alfred Soto: “You’re gonna catch a cold from all the ice in your soul,” she warns, stretching an arm across an empty auditorium.

Anthony Easton: That line alone would allow for any lover to build a giant Fortress of Solitude between this woman, with the over singing, and the melodramatic piano, and emo silliness. I actually want to buy her ex a beer for handling this kind of nonsense.

Mallory O’Donnell: Rarely does a performer match her material so well – I can think of no more painfully appropriate way to experience such a ripely awful set of lyrics than through her drama school dropout voice.

Tal Rosenberg: Though she’s trying to be resilient in the face of her priggish gent, Perri sounds weak and plastic, the ache of her voice too overwhelmed by the wince-worthy quavers in her voice. But hey, we can just overproduce the hell out of it and play it in a supermarket, where everyone can try to tune it out.

Jonathan Bogart: I like Alicia Keys songs better when Alicia Keys sings them.

15 Responses to “Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts”

  1. I seem to be especially out of synch with most everyone else lately…

  2. Not a fan of most female singers? I mean, I suppose if you mean female singers of Perri’s ilk, but otherwise that’s a really wide net.

  3. And it’s piqued.

  4. I dunno how wide that net is anymore, Katherine, although I agree with the sentiment. Lately it seems most female singers actually are of Perri’s ilk, or at least are pushed or produced into emphasizing whatever vocal affectations they’re already hawking to bring out maximum quirk appeal. It’s, like, artistic.

  5. Hmm?

  6. Bottom line here for me is that I don’t care if you fuck the werewolf or marry the vampire or whatever; I just wish you’d quit moping about it.

  7. The “Hmm?” there was to Jonathan — not sure what’s going on with comment order; Mallory’s wasn’t there when I posted it. But at any rate, here is a woefully incomplete list of some singers who happen to be female, who have released albums or singles in 2010 and who are not “quirky”:

    Laurie Anderson. Laura Marling (I actually brought this up in my blurb for her.) Kelis. Monica. Kristin Hersh. Courtney Love. Tracey Thorn. Miley Cyrus. Melissa Auf Der Maur. Kelly Rowland. Kaki King. Sade. Ke$ha.

    Should I start going back to 2009? How about Lady Gaga, probably the most prominent female singer period right now? I guess you can make a case for her costumes qualifying as “quirky,” but she’s not being cast in the Manic Pixie Dream Girl role I think you’re talking about.

    Neither are most female singers, in fact. This is because “female singer” is not a genre, no matter what trend stories try to claim. Making generalizations about female singers that go beyond “well… they’re female” is a) completely ridiculous; b) one of my biggest pet peeves.

  8. I agree with Katherine. I mean, we all have our preferences, and mine have historically tended towards female voices (though…really? Maybe it’s just felt that way because they’re a minority in so many other critical places), but I couldn’t ever write off the male voice.

    Criticising a specific type of voice – the Quirky Affected Girl or the Out-Of-Tune Indie Boy – is a completely different matter.

  9. (Jonathan is helpfully correcting Jessica’s typo at “peaked”)

  10. Huh. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t really talking about one type of voice. And I don’t think Rebecca was making any grandstanding statements, just noting personal preferences. Of course there are exceptions, but that list of people includes quite a few that I would consider to be “pushed or produced into emphasizing whatever vocal affectations they’re already hawking.” And, you must realize, there is absolutely no way to talk about music without making generalizations of some kind. I must also add that I completely agree with you in spirit, if not in letter.

  11. @mark s

    helpfully = grouchily and irrelevantly

  12. I figured as much; I’m just genuinely curious.

  13. Hello, sorry late to comments! I just don’t like many female vocalists for whatever reason, I just seem to prefer male singers. Having said that, I don’t dislike all of them and some of my favourite singers are women – of late I really like Allison Mosshart, f’rex. Also a big fan of Lady Gaga.

  14. helpfully = grouchily and irrelevantly


  15. hahaha never mind, I totally misread that (thought JB was calling Mark S grouchy and irrelevant, silly me)