Folk & Country 2011: 16 Best Albums
The faltering steps before you somersault down the rabbit hole of love are sometimes the only clear moments one can remember during the hazy, heady first six months of a new relationship. And as good as that feels ― that promise, those elements of surprise and intense attraction, a hint of something special ― it's everything that comes next that's the stuff of real love songs. Jenn Grant's Honeymoon Punch details every moment of that kind of next-level shit: the moment you both realize that you're in it to win it with all the hope and humour and occasional heartache that entails. Album opener "Oh my Heart" remembers those moments with a kicky, pop love letter while "Baby's Been Away" finds our lovers struggling with priorities against a twinkly one-two shuffle. "Paradise Mountain" is that bittersweet moment where you debate whether it's mean to be, longing to get back to the beginning. It's a brave collection that celebrates real, true, transformational love with lots of momentum from helpful sources: a bass clarinet, synthesizers, and playful forays into '50s pop rhythms, soul and even a little riot grrrl defiance. But true to form, despite the album's often upbeat nature, it's impossible to know for sure if Grant will let her lovers have that happy ending. The final track, "Stars to Waves," is a beautiful, crazy, two-parter (soft, sweet lament and triumphant, instrumental frenzy) that, wisely, lets the listener choose his or her own ending.
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