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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Jen Chapin

MUSIC REVIEWS

 Everyday Beautiful

Jen Chapin-Linger (Hybrid)

The entertainment world has gone kind of crazy.  It is possible for people like William Hung to get a record contract or Paris Hilton to get a TV series, despite showing no discernable talent at what they are doing.  Just because they have reached a level of notoriety doesn’t mean that they deserve stardom.

That’s why it is so refreshing to see someone who is willing to let her work do the speaking for her.  Jen Chapin is someone who is not going to use every cheap gimmick at her disposal to get noticed.  In fact, she is going in the opposite direction.  In the press kit for her terrific new album Linger, it only once mentions in passing that Chapin is the daughter of popular 70s folk singer Harry Chapin, and that mention was about how Jen continues her father’s charitable work for WHY (World Hunger Year).  (Jen was only 11-years-old in 1981, when her father was killed by a speeding trucker on the New Jersey Turnpike while driving home from a charity gig.)

It is admirable that Chapin is not playing up the connection.  Because her music is very different than her father’s and surely can stand on its own.  Chapin has a very distinct jazzy edge to her self-penned tunes.  She can experiment with styles and genres and feel comfortable in all of them.  Her voice sometimes sounds vaguely like Rickie Lee Jones (which is a great compliment), but other times it can have the feel of Suzanne Vega (another great compliment).  In the long run, though, you forget the comparisons and it is all Jen Chapin.    

“Til I Get There” has a folky-jazz feel that shows that Jen has soaked up the years of coffee-house playing in Greenwich Village.  “City” is an awe-inspiring ballad that shows surprising range.   “Numbers” is a swaying be-bop gem.  “Little Hours” is an insanely catchy but diversely structured tune that should become an AAA smash.  "Manchild" is a gorgeous tribute to a guy who just refuses to grow up. 

Linger holds together extremely well as an album and shows Chapin to be a singer/songwriter of extraordinary talent.  So, what do you say?  Instead of spending that money on the William Hung CD just so you can mock him, why not use it to get an album you may actually enjoy?  (2/04)    

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 14, 2004.

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Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 14, 2004.