As quirky and rumpled as a song can be while still possessing genuine pop spirit. The unusual combination of being both slow-moving and short is but one of its oddnesses, as well as one of its charms. Note how the slowness feels almost unnatural, more trippy slow-motion than merely downtempo.
After a sparse, deliberate introduction, the song opens with its chorus—good move in a sub-two-minute number, I’d say—and the melody, though sluggish, is playful. Listen to that little speeded-up phrase (around 0:21), the second iteration of “I don’t feel so”: there’s something Bacharachian in there, and yet it almost creates cognitive dissonance in this swimming-through-jello vibe. The lyrics are incomprehensible globally, but pregnant phrases register, and it could be that the chorus’s use of repeating, understandable lyrical phrases matched against asymmetrical musical phrases is what lends such force to the tune:
Suddenly I don’t
I don’t feel so strange
I don’t feel so afraid anymore
You surely feel it too
First comes the immediately repeated “I don’t”s, and then that third one fitting now into the syncopated double-time flourish, leading next into the completely artificial way the “afraid anymore/You” break scans, and as much as I am by and large a proponent of lyrics that scan naturally, in this case, I find myself delighted.
Nick Jenkins is an experimental drummer-composer-illustrator who has been involved in a wide range of musical projects—alternative rock, jazz, alt-country, contemporary classical, you name it. As a solo performer he has been recording as Mr. Jenkins since 2006—32 releases and counting. Most have been EPs, and while the total includes a seven-volume series (Samples) each release of which presents simply and only the 12 notes of the standard chromatic scale as represented by one particular type of sound producer (wine bottles, cell phones, et al), the rest of them feature full-fledged songs, usually instrumentals, and often with endearing tiles such as “Love is Not Thinking” and “It Would Be So Much Easier If I Could Just Swim Across.” “Suddenly, I Don’t Feel So Afraid Anymore” is from the album of the same name, released in November 2012 (although this is a remixed version of the original); you can check the whole unusual thing out on Bandcamp. This new verseion came to my attention via a free and legal sampler just released by the record company, Hearts and Plugs, on whose roster you’ll also find the Fingertips-featured bands Elim Bolt and Brave Baby (not to be confused, conversely, with Grave Babies!).