After several years of performing as the vocalist and bassist for the now defunct (but never forgotten) rock outfit, Concrete Blonde, singer-songwriter Johnette Napolitano has released her latest musical effort with the emotional and soul-bearing Scarred.
The album’s title is about as appropriate as it can be with Napolitano’s unmistakable voice, a thing dry, raw and tortured, yet simultaneously beautiful and thick, bearing the trademark. The songs within contain some of the singer’s most poetic and unapologetic lyrics and are all branded with the genuine feeling and intensity fans have come to expect from an artist like Napolitano. It’s as if she makes her best music when she’s not aiming for any particular polished sound or persona. Instead, when left to speak from her heart, without restraints, Napolitano’s songs can often leave a listener awestruck. Scarred captures that brutal honesty.
Of the album’s twelve tracks, ten were composed by Napolitano herself or co-written with fellow musicians Sultan Ahmed and Will Crewdson. The singer also includes two notable cover songs in the form of Coldplay‘s ‘The Scientist’ and Lou Reed‘s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties.’ The former previously released on the soundtrack for the film, Wicker Park.
Now don’t you look at me with jaded eyes
And don’t you accuse me of compromise
Because this is the first day of the rest of my life
Today I married myself and I became my own wife
I used to give it away
I used to give it away
I used to live and breath and bleed for you everyday
~ Johnette Napolitano
Among the album’s standouts are ‘Amazing,’ the opener, which introduces itself softly, but gradually builds to a steady drum tempo and finally to a full-scale sonic force. Both ‘Save Me’ and the title track are prime examples of how Napolitano can just let her soul pour out into the music. Even on a song like ‘Poet For The Native,’ where the listener will find Napolitano in narrative form, her voice is still hypnotic and even a bit creepy. Despite her remarkable talents as a bassist, sculptor, songwriter and poet, Napolitano’s voice still sets her apart from all of her contemporaries, and arguably from the many who have followed in her footsteps.
Johnette Napolitano is currently performing a string of dates in support of the new record. For her a listing of upcoming performances, be sure to check out her official site.