Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jessica Folcker-Jessica (1998)


I'm so sleepy right now as I make my final post before turning in for the night.....a little early, in fact. The cold and gray of an autumn November day can do that to you after you've gotten all nice and comfortable indoors. While some people might be curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace—yeah, that sounds really nice, too, as I've been thinking about resuming my reading of a murder mystery series soon—I prefer to snuggle up in my bedroom listening to some good music. My next after-Halloween treat is actually something that was given to me as a treat way before Halloween: the debut album by Sengalese/Swedish pop singer Jessica Folcker. You know I love my Swedish pop singers, and I already knew I'd love listening to Jessica the moment I took her out for a first spin a few months ago. I remembered exactly three songs that were instant hits with me as I was preparing for this feature presentation. The first is the opener, "Tell Me What You Like". Well, I'm sure a lot of us vividly recall the very first song on an album—and the very last one as well, I'd imagine—but what particularly stood out to me about it is that mid to late 90's dance/pop style that was widely used in the production for the boybands and girl groups and the popular teen pop stars (a la Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake). Then shortly after taking in the beat, it was Jessica's aching, soulful voice that won me over, and from that point on, I knew that I had to throw this Swedish star in my music goodie bag! Oh yeah, and you get a nice, chilled-out remix called the 'Night Mix Edit' later on in the album. The second of the trio I remembered loving was the beautiful "Anywhere Is Paradise". 'When you're with the one you dream of.....' That completes the idea behind the title to the album's seventh track, and the sunny melody creates a perfectly dreamy portrait for the paradise that Jessica paints with the lyrics she sings all throughout. But it's the third one I remembered that I went completely gaga over: Jessica's awesome cover of the Gwen Guthrie classic, "Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent". What a wonderful surprise that was when I saw this as part of the album's track-listing! And you know how I get excited about these cover songs! Gwen's 1986 original (I loved that video!) was a one-of-a-kind jam where she pointed out that no guy is gonna date her, wed her, sleep with her or be with her in any shape or form unless he's got some dollars in his pockets. Guess tonight's honorary Swedish star felt the same way about the men in her life when she chose to record her own bombastic rendition of it. One line in this song that just never gets old: 'you got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me'. I feel like I finally know all of the lyrics by hard now....lyrics that are intelligent in a funny, down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-truly-is kinda way. Didn't quite remember the remaining cuts, so I used that as an excuse to play them all over again while I was multi-tasking and working on some future travel arrangements (been in that 'I need to get away' mindset for the past few days). "Falling In Love" gets some love from me because of its similarity in style to "Tell Me What You Like", as do "Just Wanna Be With You" , with it's touch of retro rhythm, and "Private Eye", which borders on being straight up house and straight up dance-pop. It's fitting I should conclude by mentioning "Goodbye", a slow number that represents one of this album's nicest moments. The acoustic version is backed by an accompanying delicate piano and the guitar, making the music feel even more warming, even if the lyrics themselves may be somewhat bittersweet. And with that, I myself say it is time to say 'goodbye' and 'goodnight' to another fun day of tunes at "The Music Spectrum":

1. Tell Me What You Like
2. I Do
3. How Will I Know (Who You Are)?
4. Goodbye
5. Falling In Love
6. If I Ever See Heaven Again
7. Anywhere Is Paradise
8. Tell Me Why
9. Turned And Walked Away
10. A Little Bit Longer
11. Private Eye
12. Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent
13. Just Wanna Be With You
14. Tell Me What You Like [Night Mix Edit]
15. Goodbye [Acoustic Version]

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