Every so often, you come across an acoustic-hearted song that instantly embeds itself into all your whirring chaos of day-to-day. A sort of song of lyrical music that somehow, ridiculously, manages to ease your very brittle individual concerns into a hot air balloon of unstoppable universal love. It’s always a teriffic sensation to feel like there’s a person you’ve met who seems really streseed and who likes these kind of songs and hasn’t heard one that you know. That feeling of –I know you’re going to like this– before you press play on an iPod speaker you’re both clicking and appreciating over. In this light, I present Jeff Pianki and his album, Paper Window; in particular, the song ‘New York or Here’.
Jeff Pianki, here, with a brink to sit on to my slightly insignificant first year examinations this coming month and a world of big cities and big people enveloping around me with envelopes piled up on my shelf from big banks, from relations, envelopes containing thank-you letters for christmas I never got round to sending. This sound I’m listening to is probably not unique, but the context it fills and relieves in this room -of personhood and stale lingering laughing and stupid emotion and laptop-reflected absent internet friends and distant catastrophic calls of last night and thoughts to all the stuff we want to do in the next few years and in the summer and tomorrow- is something so fucking good that I feel, I feel compelled to write it up here right now and connect with all the people who have a context waiting to receive these songs as well. Different contexts, all kind of similar, filled with elements of life and always memories. Memories is something Pianki wanted to focus on with this album, Paper Window, although you wouldn’t need a blurb to realise that, the music is very obviously about memories. I find that endearing naturally, just loads of lyrics about time passing, crying tears, running around in the dark, days appearing like cold distance, heads growing tired and full of dismay, stumbling in the dark, 10 years, 4 months, girls keeping boys around, forgetting faces, darkness before dawn, memories time couldn’t erase.
I could continue this list and it wouldn’t take anything away from the moment you like the songs. Words very casually yet pleasantly placed between various instrumental refrains and progressions, guitar and piano, friendly folk rhythms, terribly and sadly felt.
It could even constitute your ‘easy-listening’ playlist; it’s music that’s as serious as you want to make it – i.e, it can be an extremely serious listening experience, but also can happily be there coaxing a certain friendly background noise, nothing more, to your room and life of many things going on. Finding the equilibrium is key.
The song New York or Here in particular does a thing that only good songs are capable; combining a sombre sombre exterior with a more sincere and underlying fundamental and universally accessible positive, a cause for optimism. A coincidence that is often produced when, like mind and heart, the vocals and instruments are congruent, they go together.
I’ve got to the end of writing and I’m sensing that feeling that I haven’t done the album quite enough justice in terms of how sincerely good it makes me feel. So here’s one of those last-ditch paragraphs of appraisal and recommendation. A great song, great album, purchase it for 1$ or more.