It’s Monday. Mondays are busy but I am ‘trying my best’ to get caught up after a crazy weekend and after being sick for a couple of days. Trying my best is one of those phrases that I think has a bit of a negative stigma around it but, in this crazy world that we are all living in these days, sometimes it’s the best mantra to have. These are all of the reasons why I have decided that today is the day to dig into Jenny Stenger’s new album, ‘trying my best’.
As soon as this album starts with “hold on forever”, you are introduced to Jenny’s distinct sound and vibe. It’s lo-fi but with an undeniable sense of heart and passion. Although her lyrics feel very “heart-on-her-sleeve” styled, her voice has a very polished vibe to it. I love this balance that she has found and it had me feeling like I had been Jenny’s best friend for years by the time this first track was done. Although a slow and steady track, there’s an undeniable sense of energy in this opener that had me bopping around. It’s not overtly infectious yet somehow this song got stuck in my head and I had to listen to it again before moving on to “better”.
Maybe it’s a cop-out, maybe it’s not but “better” instantly gave me Regina Spektor vibes. A gorgeous piano dances alongside Jenny’s voice in this track. Unfortunately, being a pianist, I found my ears tuning into this piano part more than her vocals but there’s no denying that this track’s beauty is the mix of both elements. Soft drums come in after just a little bit and just amplify everything else going on in this track but it never really reaches that ear-wormy quality that I got in “hold on forever” which is more than fine. I loved the fact that this is just one of those gorgeous tracks that whisks you away from your problems with ease.
I’m starting to catch onto the fact that this entire album is going to be fairly slow, steady, and soft which, although not my typical cup of tea, is perfect for this chilly Monday morning. The coziness that came from the first two tracks seems to be expanded on in “enough for you” and although Jenny’s voice is still gorgeous and bright, there’s a sense of heartbreak in this track that I found to be absolutely dazzling. Even though “enough for you” is one of the longer tracks on the album at just over three minutes, I found myself completely lost in the storytelling of this track and, before I knew it, the vibe had completely switched for “deadly”.
Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic when I say that the vibe completely switched for “deadly” because you still get Jenny’s signature sound here but there’s just something a bit more playful about this song that I instantly fell head over heels for. It was instantly a favorite track of mine due to that playfulness but, even with that new element, Jenny’s vocals reigned supreme. I found myself trying to ignore the instrumentation happening as if to not miss a single word from this amazing songstress but constantly being torn between what to focus on. Again, I found myself stunned by this seemingly effortless balance of power and emotion from Jenny.
“spill your guts” is more of that same infectious songwriting heard in “hold on forever” but it comes with a bit more of a sharp tongue lyrically. Obviously, if you have been reading my stuff for a while, you know I won’t give in and ruin the lyrics of a track for you because I want you to listen to it yourself but I really loved the newfound attitude in this track. I was hoping that attitude would continue into “stuck at 17” but was more than happy as this track settled the album back into that slow and steady almost ballad-like mode that Jenny does oh so well. I honestly can’t tell you why but this track really struck an emotional chord with me. It wasn’t even a case where I felt I could really relate to the lyrics (which is what typically gets me) but it’s more just the overall delivery of this track. It’s truly just drenched in honest and raw emotion that it’s impossible to not pick up on that and feel involved in this track.
“through your eyes” continues with the absolutely emotionally drenched tracks but, as it’s a bit slower moving than “stuck at 17”, I felt like I just couldn’t fall for this one as hard as some of the others. That being said, this is, you guessed it, another absolutely stunning track that showcases all of that Jenny Stenger has to offer and is so easy to get lost in until “voodoo doll” brings that edge felt in “deadly”. Okay, I promise I’m not twelve or anything but I loved the curse words in this track. That seems like such a stupid thing to catch onto in a track but I think I really enjoyed just seeing all of the emotion that Jenny has throughout this album come to a peak where it’s almost as if she couldn’t hold it in anymore. Blame my emo heart or the teenage angst I never quite grew out of but this song was instantly a favorite of mine.
The title track, “trying my best” wraps this nine-song album up perfectly as it gives you a final look into all of the many sides of Jenny Stenger. From the angst felt in “voodoo doll” to the straight-up gorgeousness of “better”, this final song is a good reminder of the journey that this album has been and it made me feel so ready to spend the rest of my day digging into other material from Jenny.
‘trying my best’ is definitely a bit more low-key than I typically go but I found this album addicting. After finishing the journey as a whole, I really can not get over the ebb and flow that happens throughout the nine songs. In retrospect, each of these songs is completely different than the others yet, when listening to this album as a whole, they all flow together seamlessly. What an absolutely stunning album from an absolutely dazzling performer.
My Favorite Track(s): “deadly”; “voodoo doll”
For Fans Of: Cozy Vibes; Dazzling Vocals; Lo-fi instrumentation with an almost commercial vibe
Mosh-ability: 2 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the couch right next to my desk; Autumn slept on my bed upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.1 out of 10
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