Song of The Year-Dickhead Blues by Kara Jackson

by Dan O

The impact a vocalist can make comes in many forms. Word choice, the way images are lined up and organized, defines a lot. On the song Curtains off Kara Jacksons new album Why Does The Earth Gives Us People To Love?  I had to pause the song and talk about the lines “Am I worthy of applause? Tomato shades parade my jaw.” My wife had just never heard anyone describe an audience throwing tomatoes at a performer that way before. The words in that order took time to click. That’s great writing.

The other important element of impact is emotional resonance. Kara has the ability (in the easy sorrowful motion of her voice, the pregnant pause before delivery) to make you feel however she wants you to feel. Dickhead Blues is her crowning achievement. In describing them, they become a soda straw strangling you, right before her voice chants along with chimes “If I had a heart, if I had a heart. I’d know where to start.” Five minutes and twenty five seconds where nothing is static. Movements sweep in and crest, swell and exhale. For it to end with a slow whine of “I’m useful!” is absolutely fitting. This is a folk album that becomes blues at times, alt country at times. The music fits to Kara who weighs you down with life and releases you when it is almost too much. My wife and I listened to the whole album on a drive and she concluded “It’s a sad album but not a depressing one,” the fortitude of spirit conveyed through writing and delivery is as undeniable as it is infectious.


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