Beautiful, but deadly?

Beautiful, but deadly?

A few days ago, my girlfriend broke up with me. I won’t ramble on about it too much, but it was quite unexpected and left me feeling all the sad things I’d been burying for months. Less than forty hours removed from the event, I found myself wondering the woods surrounding a local trailer park with my best friend, prattling on about some musical idea I have called post-pop. It seemed to be the kind of night legends have just before they do whatever they do to become legendary. Towards the end of his night, my buddy fired up his laptop and told me to Google “Jacquelyn Lee”. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I got was so far beyond it, my expectations no longer really mattered.

Jacquelyn Lee reminds me of all the things I love about music. Her sound can best be described as folk-pop filtered through the disturbed mind of some jilted lover, all delivered through a deceptively sweet voice. If Annie Clark went back in time and had a baby with Bob Dylan, it may end up sounding something like Jacquelyn Lee’s music. Even as those two poorly constructed metaphors struggle to describe Lee’s sound, if you’re like me, you will find yourself almost inexplicably drawn to the sinister, almost hypnotic draw of Lee’s melodies as they dance over soft, finger-plucked guitar tones. I could throw out a plethora of artists who sound somewhat similar to Lee but, honestly, I have not heard anything quite like it before. Simply put, her sound is unique. Less simply put, her sound is beautiful. Although some would be quick to group Lee with other female acoustic-pop artists, to do so would be a waste of one’s breath, as Lee herself acknowledges:

Rock, folk and pop music has been forever dominated by men, so it is very easy to simplify a female artist when she comes along. It is easy to group them all together. Well, what is different about me is that I will not stand to be pigeon-holed as another female voice and a guitar. My style is different, more evil and self-aware. I do not listen to the radio, and I fashion myself with a range of experience, influences, intuition and dumb luck that somehow eludes a perfect definition. If nothing else, that is what I want to express through music and personality.

To top it off, Lee has a way with words that many artists twice her age cannot grasp (did I mention she’s only 21?). The descriptive word play of “Lorraine During the Rearing” is dazzling enough that one almost forgets how evil the song really is. The same sentiment goes for “The Landfill Lot”. Her lyrics also bare a certain self-awareness, as she sings, “And though I can be a beautiful girl/In front of you I would never try” on “A Game of Chess”. Never does she allow one ounce of pretense to drip into her music, while somehow simultaneously maintaining an obvious confidence and a fearlessness I only wish more musicians could have.

If you want Jacquelyn Lee in your life, feel free to visit her MySpace and check out her Last.fm, where she has a few free downloads available. She’s hoping to have an album out sometime in the future, a record which is currently very high on my “Most Highly Anticipated” list. She tells me she’s actively looking for shows, promotion, and to expand her base:

This is an age of rogue, independent, self-releasing artists, and that is a banner I have to bear.¬†After a year of heightened attention as an artist around Chapel Hill, mainly among the student body, I’m trying to organize an all-out promotional campaign with my friends to really attract more attention, secure more business and creative relationships and land more gigs. When I am optimistic, I think I am “about to happen,” but I have been held back by having really shitty recordings and a very scant knowledge of music engineering. That is what the upcoming album will remedy, because as a solo musician, you must either be extraordinary in your multiplicity of talents, or you must have a lot of talented friends.

I certainly hope Jacquelyn Lee is about to happen. Either way, I fancy her a friend of this blog, so it is with that I highly recommend you check out Lee’s music and look forward to attending her shows if you live in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area.