Nouveau for 2002

by Linda Rapka

Since 1999's release Can You Still Feel?, Jason has toured all over the world with Air, played scattered solo gigs throughout Europe and the U.S., jammed with Travis on tv, released a Beatles lullaby album, played on Beck's and Brendan Benson's new albums, helped out with the deluxe Jellyfish box set, recorded a song for a Jeff Lynne tribute album, is producing the Lilys upcoming album, completed a new record with Brian Reitzell and Roger Manning, and somewhere inbetween wrote and recorded at least six new songs for his next solo effort.

But with titles like "Feelin' Much Better" and "Hello Mr. Future," it's sounds like Jason just got back from a six month vacation. The constant drive of his busy schedule hasn't burned him out, it's provided an energetic, upbeat backdrop for his new songs. Even the slow numbers stay strong and steady till the end.

The melancholy lyrics of "This Life of Mine" can't mask the feeling of happiness behind it. Jason's soaring, hopeful guitar resounding over the lyrics "it makes me smile sometimes" eliminate any feelings of despair

Not what you'd expect of Jason at all, "Feelin' Much Better" is a new-wavey, body movin' tune, and even has hints of ska in the chorus. He surprisingly pulls it off (after a listen or 2, anyway). (Reminds me of the Specials second album More Specials - a more new wave sound with just a slight touch of ska.)

He's worked on "Start Over Again" by playing around with the melody, tightening up the rhythm, and dropping "Again" from the title.

"Princessa" is an optimistic, edgey, dream-like Falk-rawker. It gets its hooks in right from the chorus and never lets go. Jason explores abstract lyrics, which provide the right amount of imagery to latch onto the powerful hooks he drives home. The organ- & vocal-drenched chorus takes you to a sparkling world of sunlight. The light and airy bridge acts as a nice breather in the middle of this powerful song. With such different lyrics coupled with the driving hooks only Jason can create, this is the best I've ever heard him.

"Hello Mr. Future" is more like the pure pop we're used to, but even this track has a new edge. His vocals soar through the chorus, and its irregular timing (shifting between 4/4 and 5/4) and unusual melody give this song a necessary punch.

"Song Unknown" is a simple acoustic number with cute and funny lyrics. He's sounding like a giddy boy in love playing a new song for his girl.

I haven't heard Jason this energetic since Author Unknown, and never in this author's opinion has he been so...well, great. These cheerful songs are a quite a departure from the bleak outlook of Jason's last record. Apparently he can still feel after all.

View the lyrics for these new songs.

Falk Speaks