Jennifer O’Connor Continues to Define Folk-Pop with “Surface Noise”

Jennifer O'Connor

The fastest growing, fastest evolving genre in the musical world today is folk-pop. Take a look back into the past five years, even ten years, and you’d be hard pressed to find a prominent musician in this genre. But that’s changing. With the strengthening of the genre, there come certain musicians who have proved crucial to the shaping of it. One such musician is Jennifer O’Connor who, just last week, released her sixth album, Surface Noise.

Jennifer O’Connor Still Strong

O’Connor has been solo-recording music for 16 years now, and each album she’s produced has been a work of art. In keeping with tradition, Surface Noise has achieved nothing short of musical excellence. The album is filled with not only stylistic eloquence, but personal meaning and depth. According to O’Connor, the period in which this album was produced was filled with significant life events and momentous change, between her move from New York, the death of her mother, and her marriage. As any artist will tell you, though, it is out of such times that the strongest work is produced.

The album has a generally nostalgic theme, from the calm, acoustic “Falling Feeling,” to the bittersweet “Black Sky Blanket,” with its mellow electric guitar instrumentation. “Start Right Here” is a song that could well become the definitive song of folk-pop. The track has a catchy, swaying tempo, combined with an underlying thoughtful, bittersweet tone that gives folk-pop the power it has over mainstream pop.

“Tell Me What you Need” takes a diversion from the style of several other tracks on the album, using an electric piano and drum machine. “You’re Not There” takes a stylistically similar approach, but uses the electronic instrumentation combined with personal lyrics to make it a melancholy, haunting piece. “It’s a Lie” is perhaps one of the more interesting tracks on the album, using mellow rock instrumentation and repetitive phrasing.

Being able to watch a genre be shaped is a truly memorable experience. Baby Boomers talk about when they first heard of bands like The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, or The Rolling Stones, all bands that served crucial roles in the shaping the music of their generation. Our generation will be able to recall the moments that we heard musicians like Jennifer O’Connor, who not only shaped, but enlivened the genre of folk-pop.

Go here to learn more about O’Connor and her work, or buy Surface Noise.

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