There are many reasons why Jenny Owen Youngs is worth your attention. She writes fantastically joyous but honest indie acoustic pop songs. She not only covered Hot In Here by Nelly but also made a video for the song featuring a lot of people dressed up in fuzzy costumes. She also sells t-shirts with such fantastic slogans like ‘I Got Knocked Up By Jenny Owen Youngs’ emblazoned all over them. If that makes you think she’s one in a million, you’d be right.
Hailing from Mont Clair, New Jersey, Jenny began to get noticed as she steadily built a strong reputation online, thanks to diligently building her profile on Myspace. This helped her self release her debut album, Batten The Hatches back in 2005; a jaunty, heartfelt, sometimes scathing and always enjoyable collection of acoustic tunes. You’ll find upbeat and energetic tracks sitting alongside quiet reflective numbers, all laced together with Jenny’s impressive ear for a melodic hook. In Drinking Song, she takes unrequited love and finding solace in drinking and wraps them up in a song so fantastically catchy, upbeat and joyful that it should probably be illegal. It helps that Jenny’s a great guitarist, and the evidence is all over Batten The Hatches from the quiet, restrained plucking on Voice On Tape to the raucous positivity on From Here.
Her second album took some time to see the light of day, and arrived in May of this year, almost four years after its predecessor. Transmitter Failure is a fairly major development and sees her opting for bigger songs with more band instrumentation as opposed to sitting down with her acoustic. It’s nothing to be put off by, as she still delivers plenty of hooks and catchy choruses to outstrip any hack with a guitar and a broken heart. The streamlined folk pop of Led To The Sea is as good a tune as she’s ever written, and the jauntiness of Secrets, where she asks her lover not to question her on her night time antics over a brilliantly uplifting chorus is just as impressive. There’s certainly less of the quiet material that made up a substantial part of Batten The Hatches, which is a small shame, but there’s plenty here to enjoy. Jenny developed a pretty unique sound on Transmitter Failure, and by maintaining those introspective, inquisitive, scathing and playful aspects to her lyrics, she’s kept a large part of her identity as a songwriter whilst becoming somewhat more accessible.
Jenny feels like that smart, sassy, pretty girl next door, or that older sister you liked that let you raid her CD/vinyl collection. She naturally exudes the kind of cool and honesty that no amount of album sales can bring, so if you fancy a songwriter with enough individuality, affection and hostility to fill a hundred albums then you’ll do well to check her out. In her own words, spread the JOY!
Recommended Album: Batten The Hatches
Recommended Songs: Bricks, From Here, Led To The Sea, Last Person
More info at www.myspace.com/jennyowenyoungs
Video for F**k Was I: