Jann Arden’s new album

Jann Arden’s new album

Street Sounds: Arden delivers comfort food

Alberta singer/songwriter Jann Arden stays in character for her 12th album, Everything Almost.

Alberta singer/songwriter Jann Arden stays in character for her 12th album, Everything Almost. She mines the regions where perennially hopeful, lonely hearts linger – the bittersweet, inoffensive musings of a funny girl.

Arden’s the type whose character could’ve had a mid- 1970’s sitcom built around her.

Along with producer-to-the-stars Bob Rock, Arden, along with a clutch of seasoned studio pros has made an album of friendly melodic music. Her material is predictable and the sound, like comfort food, is a quick fix.

This is an album not useful for long distance highway driving but rather condo-moping. It’s the aural equivalent of a slightly serious chick flick. Like Celine Dion, she has a mysterious but loyal fan base. How does she do it? She delivers what’s expected of her, no surprises or risks, like the track You Love Me Back. This has a grabbing hook, a sweetly pleading Arden vocal performance, and a lovelorn preoccupation.

Arden channels relatable sentiments through an (emotionally) appealing voice and likeable persona. You’d like her to be your friend. Her heart-on-sleeve confessionals are predictable but she carries on.

She mixes in some spiritual aspirations with her forlorn melodies in Counting Mercies, signalling a foray from her usual subject matter. She continues on with dramatic spaghetti western-styled sounds in I Am a Town. Karolina sheds light on similarities between her and fellow Canadian melodic soft rocker, Amy Sky.

Singing as she does, with the slight suggestion of old-time country balladry, it’s natural that Arden favours the wistful numbers. It’s in her blood. As a singer, Arden is a proven, enjoyable talent. As a writer, she has nothing new to say.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a musician and freelance writer based in Vernon. He reviews the latest music releases every Friday in The Morning Star.