I went to see Damien Jurado last night. Truly great gig. Opening for him was Siv Jakobsen and it reminded me that I had been meaning to say a few words about her album for some time now. So, here are a few words.
Siv Jakobsen – The Lingering
The centrepiece of Siv Jakobsen’s new(ish) album is a version of Britney Spears ‘Toxic’. It’s a bold choice, but a memorable one. It does exactly what every really good cover should do. It transforms the track and almost makes you forget who the original artist was. Almost. And that’s the neat trick. You’re hearing a radically new version, but you can still just about picture the original artist singing it this way, which conjures up the image of a very different world. And that’s the beauty of the cover of ‘Toxic’ here. It not only sounds great in itself, it takes us to a whole other counterfactual world. A better world. One in which we can almost imagine Britney herself singing it this way. Modest. Head firmly on her shoulders. Great career ahead of her. Back in our world, Siv Jakobsen’s own compositions aren’t too shabby either. They’re fragile, but not weak. Often built around a lonely guitar line, there’s some lovely yet understated orchestration. ‘Dark’ being a fine example. The Laura Marling influence is plain to hear, and the songs are none the worse for that. Perhaps the stand out track is ‘How We Used to Love’. There’s a beautiful piano theme and some personal-sounding lyrics. “I ran into a woman on the sidewalk, ‘Cause I was thinking too much about us, Dreaming of you and all we’ve lost”. On her new album Siv Jakobsen takes us to some special places. Oh, and track 3, ‘Fix You’, is not a cover of the Coldplay song. Now that would really take something special.