Alt-country/folk songstresses are all the rage these days, as they go from guest spotting on some XY artist’s track to delivering their own albums (see: Sharon Van Etten – QRO album review). But what about those who’ve been delivering for years now, like Jennifer O’Connor? Her latest, I Want What You Want, is another sweet & soft slice of Americana.
O’Connor does kind of ‘hit all the bases’ on Want, from slow and intimate to a more active country-strum, but that isn’t to say she can’t do it all. Back-to-back-to-back “You Come Around”, “Hidden Hill”, and “Swan Song (for Bella)” showcase better alt-country, better strum, and better beauty, respectively. The record’s peak in appeal, “Good Intentions”, is just some great alt-country pop. There’s a mix of close-up vocals and larger guitar-fuzz on “No One Knows Anything”, and even some indietronic-pop cute with the following “Another Day (My Confidant)”. Sometimes O’Connor does slow up too much, though. “Change Your Life” has too much restraint, and the closing “Your Guitar” (which doesn’t seem to have any) is just an ultra-slow key and voice that feels much longer than it actually is.
The (still male-dominated) music world will rave about whoever is the latest pretty face to pick up an acoustic guitar or sit down at a piano and bare her soul. But some artists are more than the flavor of the month.