Even now, in 2010, there are untold gazillions of singer/songwriters out there singing acoustic-guitar-based songs. The robots haven’t won yet. Then again, most of these songs are earnest and forgettable, so maybe those robots are wilier than we already think. But the glimmer of hope, every year, is that there are four or five or six that turn out to be almost mysteriously wondrous—not just songs that are pleasant enough to hear once or twice (there are plenty of those), but songs that strike deep within the soul, songs that become part of your life. Here is one of 2010’s best.
With a swaying, mournful melody, “Doubles” hits home hard for its offhand lyricism. The narrator sings of the harsh, unexceptional struggles of daily urban life in America in the 21st century with the deft touch of a short story writer (“Taking orders in her sleep/All those hours on her feet”). And I have to say, I more than ever appreciate the singer/songwriter—someone who takes her troubles and finds poignancy and humanity in them (“Some girls they like to win/But instead they’ll serve you lunch”) rather than fear and suspicion, someone whose intelligence naturally seeks connection rather than someone whose ignorance flails them towards divisiveness. Maybe you see what I’m getting at.
Anyway. Bezunartea’s voice is the marvel here that seals this song’s fate. She sings with the unadorned, reverbed loneliness of a standard-issue DIYer with one big difference: she can really sing. I mean really. It’s almost a revelation to hear someone with a plain-spoken voice like this with this level of tone and control. I can appreciate a good off-key indie moment as much as the next guy but it’s a subtle relief to the brain not to be continually if unconsciously waiting for that next moment when the note the singer hits doesn’t quite match the melody.
“Doubles” is from Bezunartea’s debut CD Restaurants and Bars, coming out in November on Kiam Records (a label run by singer/songwriter Jennifer O’Connor). The album was produced by John Agnello, who is known for his work with Dinosaur, Jr. and Sonic Youth, among many others. MP3 via Kiam; thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.