Sarah Jaffe has turned what could have been another singer-songwriter debut that gets heard, reviewed and tossed aside into an album worthy of multiple listens. Suburban Nature are songs about a woman who’s constantly separated herself from her lovers, the album goes through these heartaches, figuring out where it went wrong and what could have been done to salvage a flawed relationship. We’ve all been in a position where we’ve had to examine ourselves, her own psychoanalysis just happen to be out in the open for an audience to connect to.
Sarah, fresh in what I assume will be a fruitful career, has amazing music and vocal skills. She’s able to make heartache sounds beautiful in a way that doesn’t victimize anyone. She’s already a fully capable songwriter that’s able to interpret the complexities of a relationship without placing the blame on one person or the other, though, obviously, she’s a little harder on herself.
In ‘Vulnerable’ she tells the story of a relationship on the rocks, with egos clashing and defenses cemented in. It’s the place where she realizes she may be a part of the problem. ‘Wake me up just to call me sleeping beauty,’ is her lover attempting to chisel away at that cement wall. Something she’s not quite comfortable with yet. The whole situation makes her feel exposed, ‘Oh fine/ that’s fine,’ she sings almost as if she’s convincing herself to take that leap of faith. ‘I’ve got my hands up/ I’m feeling vulnerable,’ she warns before taking that leap into the pool that makes her so uncomfortable.
Suburban Nature never tries to excuse itself for what is it. In ‘Watch Me Fall Apart’ she’s a woman who’s had to endure lots of pain who’s forgotten to feel compassion for her lover, so much so she begins with, ‘You said you were sad/ but I don’t believe you/ You’re too simple in the head.’ She’s a little rough around the edges. As the song continues she reveals that her cold attitude actually hides what she’s too afraid to ask for, ‘Forgive me/ And I want you to need me.’ She’s a woman that realizes her faults and hope she hasn’t sabotaged yet another relationship. ‘I’m swearing in my sleep/ Cursing as the day/ As it goes by.’
It’s an honest debut from an strong songwriter. I eagerly await more from this wonderfully flawed woman.