Jessi Mason’s new songs “Everest” and “When It Rains in L.A.” channel the catchy sensibilities of indie rock and the emotional intimacy of Adele’s 21.
“Everest” & “When It Rains in L.A.” – Jessi Mason[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/877063606?secret_token=s-NTbS1″ params=”color=#d6cfce&auto_play=true&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”400″ iframe=”true” /]
In the most reductive terms, pain makes good art. Yes, there are plenty of happy and joyful songs that we can all enjoy (listen to Lover if you don’t believe me), and plenty of artists have rallied against the notion that it’s absolutely necessary to let an open wound seep onto the page, but the songs that often sit with us and become more important to us reflect some level of human conflict. New York singer-songwriter Jessi Mason channels the emotive pop of greats like Adele on both of her new songs “Everest” and “When It Rains in L.A.,” both premiering exclusively on Atwood Magazine today.
There wasn’t a forecast
Couldn’t dress for the weather
Thought the sun would be out
So I wore a t-shirt
The difficulty of a breakup brings on a range of emotions, and Mason uses each of these songs to process different parts. “I wrote Everest / When it Rains in L.A. after ending a long-term relationship, during that post-breakup process that constantly flips between anger and acceptance. I spent so much time trying to figure out why it spun out and why I allowed myself to be treated badly. It felt like I was waking up from a dream and slowly sinking back into my skin,” Mason tells Atwood Magazine. “These songs are significant markers of personal and artistic change. My music has always been a direct reflection of who I am and what I’m going through, so the fact that they hit harder than my older stuff is really exciting. This is the first time I feel like I didn’t candy-coat my music to make it sweeter for anyone – the anger, judgement, and heartbreak is pretty straightforward. In the past, I don’t think I would’ve allowed myself to write so bluntly about dark feelings and experiences, but that vulnerability is actually really empowering.”
This is the first time I feel like I didn’t candy-coat my music to make it sweeter for anyone – the anger, judgement, and heartbreak is pretty straightforward.
The driving indie rock of “Everest” is both empowering and reflective of the frustration that heartache can bring. Mason expresses the terrifying awe that romance can bring:
You loved me like Everest
Beautiful and fully consuming
The cold can be lethal
And, babe, I’m only human
Beginnings and ends are both scary, and intimidating no matter how you look at them. Like the mountain that this song is named for, Mason embraces the challenges that come with a relationship ending with a fearless acceptance and determination to make sense of the pain. She sings, “What I thought was euphoria was just my body caving in/Got out just when my lips started turning blue.” There is a suffocating feeling when anything ends, and the track acknowledges that with Mason’s hard hitting delivery over the uplifting guitar-driven track.
“When It Rains in L.A.” is much dreamier and expresses the more confusing aspects of a breakup. The track has a somber beginning with a slow, heavy build-mirroring being stuck in your car in the middle of a storm. With meteorological imagery, Mason allows a downpour to narrate some of the more difficult aspects only to build into a storm where she’s directly confrontational and says so many of the things we wish we could say in the midst of a breakup. As if to set the scene, she sings:
When it rains in L.A.
I can still see your breath
A heavy haze, our legs tied
my head on your chest
A New York kind of winter,
love laced with bitterness
We have nothing to save
The song’s second verse and chorus are incredibly moving. Mason belts the words flawlessly, while also sounding furious:
Gave you myself torn down the middle
Don’t you dare call me noncommittal
Because I stuck it out
through the longest draught
Til the skies opened up
Oh and I’d had enough
I’d had enough
When it rains in L.A.
I still hear your poignant
choice of words
Cruel and sterile like
you wanted it to hurt
And I recall the moment that
I knew there was more I deserved
While “When It Rains in L.A,” is less straightforward than “Everest,” it ultimately packs the bigger punch in being both cutting and brutally honest with Mason’s voice standing out over the track’s instrumental, channeling all the hard times of the relationship into a purely emotional piece of music.
The songs that often end up being the ones that we view as a lens to identify ourselves with are usually songs where you can hear that the songwriter has been through a difficult time and the song is either them in the midst of it or coming out of it. New York’s Jessi Mason delivers some of her most thoughtful and honest work with both of her new songs “Everest” and “When It Rains in L.A.” The songs bring a catchy and emotive-sensibility to the singer-songwriter’s indie-pop. Each of these tracks show an honest depiction of a breakup, and Mason’s excellent imagery and powerful voice tie every piece together.
“Everest” & “When It Rains in L.A.” – Jessi Mason[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/877063606?secret_token=s-NTbS1″ params=”color=#d6cfce&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”400″ iframe=”true” /]
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