Mason Jennings: Minnesota
Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings has been perfecting the art of melodic tunes for years, and Minnesota is the culmination of his efforts. Delicate, nuanced, and over all too soon, this new album is a beautiful tribute to a state that doesn’t tend to get much love.
The beauty of Minnesota is that it is optimistic without always seeming that way on the surface. By title alone “Bitter Heart” ought to be a dark tale, but instead it offers redemption. “Raindrops on the Kitchen Floor,” featuring Jason Schwartzman, embodies the salvation one can find in another person, and the deliciously indie “Hearts Stop Beating” and the piano ballad “Clutch” represent the longing for a lover while away.
“Witches Dream,” one of the most fascinating tracks on the record, features creepy music while Jennings does his best to channel Nick Cave’s vocals. “Rudy” is a folky fable of a man against a king. “Wake Up” captures redemption after battling demons, seemingly autobiographical about life on the road. “Well of Love” is an upbeat tune with jazz overtones, bringing in delightful horns and even accordion. Finally, “No Relief” is a simple piano tune with very few lyrics. It’s a discouraging note to end on, but the melody of the music indicates that Jennings will keep soldiering on to prove himself wrong.