I have a weak spot for lyrical storytelling in my music. If a songwriter can weave just enough narrative into his or her tracks, I tend to feel significantly more connected to the album. Lauren O’Connell is one of those artists and Quitters is one of those albums.
The first track I heard off of this album was “The Same Things,” which O’Connell debuted on her YouTube channel almost a year ago. The original video featured sweet harmonies by Julia Nunes and the two unique voices somehow managed to blend perfectly. Though the song was stripped a bit on this track, giving it a more haunting quality, I still totally dig it.
Quitters is a generally somber album. Kicking off with the solid drums of “Every Space, ” O’Connell sings, “Well if it’s better that way/ You’d be the first to say so/ Maybe I wasn’t so sure/ But it doesn’t matter who shot first/ It’s not about what anyone deserves.” There’s a light resignation to her crooning that’s simultaneously sad and entrancing.
The other song I can’t seem to stop playing is “I Belong to You.” I’m not one for the saccharine, but this track is incredibly sweet. It’s simple and clean without being simple-minded.
O’Connell’s voice has a gentle twang that’s fairly mature, lending itself well to her similarly-aged lyrics. There’s a masterful prose-like quality to her words; they remind me of folktales. You get a sense of wisdom beyond her mid-‘20s experience in each track. She manages to conquer melancholy without moping and to be affectionate without being insincere or gooey.
I also just can’t get over her mastery of different instruments. Not only does she play the guitar, banjo and bass, but she also manages to play the instruments in innovative ways. In some of her videos she can be seen playing the guitar with a violin bow. It’s sick.
Other standout tracks include: “I Will Burn You Down,” “In the Next Room” and “What Breaks (And What Doesn’t).”