“Don’t know how I became the girl who they believed,” confides Jenny Owen Youngs in her track “War Horse”. Youngs has recently completed her 8-track Exhibit project, inspired by visits to 8 different NYC art galleries.
Hailing from New Jersey, the singer/songwriter has compiled a digital album out of these visits, on sale now for $8 ($1 per song). The project was fueled by her love of history and art and is chock-full of earworm goodness, with sharp, unrelentingly honest lyrics all brought to life by her angelically poisonous voice. Her music is easy, begging the question of how she is able to weave so many complex emotions, intricate metaphors, and catchy hooks into simple, acoustic sounds.
“Here Comes the Monster”, written after leaving The American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ocean Life uses sea life imagery to conjure up a story about a lying lover. This first track sets the project’s soothing, peaceful tone, while invoking raw emotion. The folky, rich, “In-Betweeners” follows suite with Owens’ usual unapologetic words –I hate the space you leave behind/It’s missing and it’s mine.
The nerdy, yet adorable “I Can’t Resist”, inspired by The Museum of Sex is the instant star of this compilation, confessing –When I catch you reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/I can’t resist. And you can’t resist.
The most mythical track on this album, “War Horse”, motivated by Jules Bastien-Lepage’s painting, “Joan of Arc”, vividly captures the spirit and folklore of Joan of Arc. This track leads into the more layered and eerie “Firefight” which boasts a haunting melody and impressive acoustics. The song begins a capella, then turns polyphonic, and later adds acoustic guitar in the background.
Exhibit ends with a punch, with “Keep Me Away,” sticking to the same easy theme, but with a warning –How could I hurt you/Well I’ll tell you how/First you come near me/Then I take you down. This track, inspired by The Museum of Modern Art, brags an unfaltering confidence, with a hint of feminist pride. And Owens is so genuine and blunt that it’s hard not to believe every word she bestows.
The full Exhibit playlist and download, as well as stories and inspiration behind each song, can be found at Bandcamp.
Words by: Courtney Johnston