Album review: "I Want What You Want"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, Mar. 2, 2012
Singer-songwriter Jennifer O'Connor's career trajectory is a common one: After parting ways with her record label, Matador, she took a few years off, then self-released her latest album, "I Want What You Want."
"I Want" is her fifth album overall, and her years of experience help her successfully avoid most of the issues that plague self-released albums. Other than an unnecessary song repetition ("Another Day" opens the album as a sparse acoustic number; she reprises the track later as a keyboard-driven pop song), "I Want" is sharply focused, showing O'Connor's strong sense of up-tempo songwriting. "Already Gone" is a swaying, catchy tune with a driving bass line and a dense guitar drone, and an electric piano adds a subtle texture to the bouncy "Good Intentions."
O'Connor falters somewhat when her sound is thin; "7/12/09" feels a bit repetitive with an exposed guitar line, and the slow-paced "Change Your Life" lacks momentum. On her fuller numbers, though, she can make frailty sound so seductive: Album standout "Swan Song (For Bella)" anchors the reflection in her lyrics with a haunting cello line, giving the song an alluringly warm, rich tone.