Damien Jurado — Allocate

Yikes, July up and ran away from me. After a brief, unannounced hiatus (oops, sorry y’all. #nonmonetizedsidehustle), In My Ear is back! And, we’re going to crush it this week with three new posts to make up for the three weeks of lost time.

First, The Internet. Next up this week, a change of pace with Damien Jurado’s excellent new album The Horizon Just Laughed and the standout single Allocate.

I’m new to Damien Jurado…and clearly very late to the game as Horizon is his 13th (!) full-length album. But, I’m all in to explore his catalogue because I have had this record on loop since it dropped in May. It is one of my favorite albums of the year to-date and it just keeps getting better.

This is singer-songwriter art for sure. With a muted, warm musical backdrop, Jurado conjures melancholy, wistfulness, loneliness, peace, and contentment all in equal measure–strung together with a consistent thread of hesitant hope.

the-horizon-just-laughed

The lyrics are poetic and continually up for reinterpretation and new contemplation, with a range of personal references to names of artistic influences, small towns, and out-of-the-way places. The songs are lush and textured; spare, whispered acoustic arrangements co-mingled with uptempo orchestral tracks and hushed backing strings, all set within a chilled out 1970s vibe.

Most strikingly to me, the album’s production and Jurado’s voice make this an incredibly intimate-sounding and intimate-feeling record. Whenever I listen, there’s a sense of the world around me fading — shimmering in the background — as the songs swell to fill whatever space I’m in.

Allocate is a sublime example of all of these qualities. It’s a song to get lost in; as perfect while driving past rows of corn and fields of wildflowers on a warm summer day as it is while watching a cold rain drip down a gray windowpane.

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