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Jay Som’s “Everybody Works” album review

by Erica Jane, Senior Reporter

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Album Title: Everybody Works

Record Label: Polyvinyl and Double Denim Records
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Rating: 9/10

Young and hungry, Melina Duterte brings brilliance in her new album, Everybody Works. With careful lyrics and pristine charm dancing into every song, Everybody Works is Duterte’s first official album as Jay Som. Her breakthrough album, Turn Into, was first released on Bandcamp; it included a collection of sixteen songs, all wonderfully strung together in her Oakland home. Jay Som is a one woman band. She composes all her songs in the comfort of her home. Intricately intimate in every song, her bassline and her pulsing guitar strokes caught with her smooth voice makes Everybody Works an out of body experience.

The first song of her ten piece album, “Lipstick Stains” begins with powerful, alluring acoustic guitar cords. It brings a sense of serenity to listeners and overall peace. Duterte’s soft yet nostalgic voice soon emerges, singing, “I like the way your lipstick stains, the corner of of smile / How you brush my hair aside…” Listeners are immediately lost for words at this beginning; Duterte presents her album in a refreshing start. It is the perfect opener for a wistful, sleepy album like Everybody Works.

The second track, “The Bus Song,” is a hit. It kicks off with repetitive, short but dynamic notes; each strum sets the mood accordingly to her gentle, glossing lyrics. “Take your time / It won’t be long ‘til our car breaks down / Your hands in mine / Feel like a firefighter when I take off your shoes.” Duterte describes a bittersweet story through loose, airy lines; she makes the audience feel as if they are walking through a montage, memories laid out before them and reminiscing about past hardships.

“1 Billion Dogs,” Duterte’s fourth song, brings an entirely different mood to the table. Robust, fuzzy and upbeat chords hit the listeners; the bassline brings the piece together along with her dreamy, almost muted hums. The song picks at adolescent exhaustion and struggle, despite the bouncy instrumental. “I forget / Just like a kid / Can’t see straight / I’m tired, I’m alone.” Young adults that adore Duterte will be able to relate to her power-chord drowned melancholy music that many indie artists hold.

Duterte offers her mantra, “Everybody Works,” as her ninth track. Slow, doleful but endearing all the same, the track begins with delicate harmonies that soothe listeners. On top of the hush ebb and flow of the guitar, the lyrics wash over any doubt towards the song. “My folks they don’t think it’s right to be living in a shell / I’ll just bite hard on the luck / I read it in the books, I swear I’ll be good.” She sings very personally, giving insight to those around her of the silent struggles every body faces.

Everybody Works, though only sprouting, blooms emotions of all sorts through fans’ hearts. The complex consideration smothered over every song and more gives the album a unique, one of a kind feel. Duterte hits home with her introspective words, doused with sweet harmonies to swing listeners to another land.

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Jay Som’s “Everybody Works” album review