Albums worth listening to: We Become Ourselves by Rebekka Karijord

14 Sep


I discovered Rebekkah Karijord when in a music slump, looking for something new that had that spark, that urgency.  Most popular music is rather bland at the moment, and I was weary of my old standbys.   So you can’t imagine how delighted I was when I ran across Karijord when I was just random browsing.

It’s incredibly difficult to make music that is positive without it coming across as flaky.  There’s a sort of cliched sort of  happiness that pops up in music from time to time, that as an expressive medium, doesn’t ring true.   So while I say her music is very optimistic, I don’t want you to think of music for housewives to pop pills to.

No.  Her music is therapeutic, the sound of healing.  It helps that her voice is siren-like, even crystalline with just enough soul to make her sound like a human and not inhuman.   The funny thing is though her voice is incredibly distinctive, she reminds me of great female artists–a little bit Joni Mitchell, a little bit Emmylou Harris, a little bit Kate Bush, a little bit Natalie Merchant–but she’s more than all these influences.

Her music rolls over like ocean waves, the background instrumentation ranging from spare to lush swells back to spare again.   Her lyrics parallel this, coming from a very deep place each rise and fall of emotion ever so gently counterpointing the melodies.   It comes across as speaking to a friend late into the night about deepest dreams, desires, and revelations.

“Long night walks.

Making out to bad old songs and endless calls

How I longed to figure you out.

We felt distance without knowing why.

If I ever have a son I’ll teach him it’s ok to cry.

In silence, let’s dance here for awhile and try to see the world with each others eyes.”

There’s an aching beauty here,  She is speaking through the whole album of our incredible desire to connect with others, how we so often fall short, and the lovely moments when we actually succeed.   In We Become Ourselves Karijord expresses our separation from others as being an externalization of our separation from ourselves, and the journey we all must take to become whole.

The album is immaculately constructed–starting with “Prayer’ and ending with “The Hope Muscle” if that gives you an idea of the sort of journey she intends.   In the middle we have “Ode to What Was Lost”   “Use My Body When it’s Still Young,” “Bandages,” and other songs indicating healing and growth.   This album is the calm after the storm, for those who have survived disaster.

“Use my words to make you feel safe.”  Karijord sings.   I can’t think of any album better suited for that use.

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