Jesus, everyone, Jordana was twenty one years old when she released this incredible record back in December 2020 (Making it. Eligible. For this year’s. List. So sick of having to explain how this works), isn’t that just terrifying?
For her, I mean. This isn’t one of those “Whaaaaa! They’re so young and I’ve comparatively failed in life!” takes. Partially because – Jesus fucking Christ – those mournings are so boring. We’ve all failed in life, that’s what connects us so beautifully as people, and even the ones we assume haven’t still think they have, let’s not create divisions by imagining any one of us is making a better go of this shitshow we call existence. Mostly because, seriously, you eventually get to an age where fucking everyone is younger than you (except Caroline Shaw, of course), you stop being such a big baby about the whole thing (“Malala Yousafzai was only fifteen years old when she was shot in the face by Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan gunmen?! Lucky!! What had I done by that age??”) and instead switch to being in constant mortal dread of your own imminent demise. It’s honestly a cool transition.
Youth, as they say, is, as someone once put, wasted, if you will, on, if you’ll allow me to theorise, on, some would argue, the, as it were, young, isn’t it?* It’s a grossly fetishized time of life by the grossly older members of society, fantasising about what they could possibly do with that transience of beauty, that fleeting period of decent health, or that life without the saddle of the crushing weight of mortality**. Because what would older people do with youth? That’s right: attempt to fuck people who were previously by no means age appropriate. What’s more true is probably that experience and (blech!)wisdom is wasted on the old. We’ve all been young before, we’ve lived through how traumatic and miserable so much of it was as we desperately strived for identity and purpose while constantly comparing ourselves negatively to everyone ese around us who seemed to have it all worked out, but as soon as we reach the age of 25 we all suffer amnesia and turn around and say “Pffff! Check out these teenage snowflakes, their life is so easy. If I were young I’d be fucking nailing it!” Maybe what we actually want is to not have a job. Which… yeah, fair enough. The young can do whatever the hell they want with youth, it’s a terrifying time of life where all your future traumas and perceived inadequacies are birthed. It gets better (honestly) if we’re able to survive the anguish of the emotional and hormonal rollercoaster, but then all us idiots want to do is turn around straight away and punch our tickets for another go around. Old people are fucking idiots. Our forgetfulness of the general horrors of young adulthood are even more confusing considering you’re right in a curious phase in human recollection called the ‘memory bump’. If you ask anyone above the age of thirty to recall the most vivid and and important events of their life, they will disproportionately list off thing that happened between the ages of fifteen and twenty five. These are the years where critical shit goes down and when lifelong anxieties will first surface. This is the age where adult life (y’know… statistically almost all of your life) begins to take shape. Your first love with Paul behind the bins at Tesco Express, realising that moving to university means you can drink Jägerbomb until 5am every night and sleep into 5pm every day, you experience the true intellectual growth needed to accept that ‘In Utero’ is a far superior album to ‘Nevermind’ and that Blur never did anything halfway as good as Oasis’s debut album. It’s the time when the vast majority of young people make the choices that will define the rest of their lives, and that the lion’s share of identity forming will take place. No pressure.
(*I said YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG! Jeez change the batteries in your hearing aid, gramps)
(**there’s more to be said about a topic broached by Nina Power in the wonderful Under My Thumb book – edited by Rhian E. Jones and Eli Davies – about how the youth of a woman is “doubly ‘wasted’, because it is always youth for another – at the time and in the future. the Young Girl (a song by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap) does not get to enjoy her youth, because others are always ready to enjoy it for her, or mourn its loss later on her behalf. The Young Girl is a repository of projection. Whoever speaks of the Young Girl usually isn’t one. Whenever the Young Girl does speak, she is ignored”. But, shit, I don’t have time to get into all that)
Wow, that was a long paragraph, wasn’t it? Here’s a really short one to counter it.
And Jordana reached twenty one in 2020! I promise you, if you’re aged closer to thirty you couldn’t possibly imagine what kind of a fucked up life she’s had simply due to the era her parents decided to have sex in! Firstly, she would have completely grown up online, which is just a whole other issue of awkwardness. She’s not young enough for her parents to have posted about her birth on Facebook, but you should have seen the ultra cringe 28kb photos her Mum posted to LiveJournal. Also, she’s a woman, so her life is likely to have been all unsolicited dickpics and invasive WordPress thinkpieces from creepy old men* for the last, what, decade? She won’t be able to remember a time before to 9/11 terrorist attacks**, so her whole life will have conducted under a constant and vague threat and she would have been encouraged to be absolutely terrified of absolutely everything at absolutely all times! I mostly grew up in the 90s, where we in the West were so desperate for things to be afraid of that we were just inventing reasons to be afraid of drug dealers, child abductors, Satan, homosexuals etc. The most traumatic thing to happen to me growing up was Gareth Southgate missing his penalty against Germany in the Euro 96 semi final. Then on top of that, she’s had to spend the most important years of her life just watching as the world shuts down and society tells her than she can’t see her friends or family for the next year or so. That doesn’t matter to people my age! We don’t have any friends and all our family is dead!
(*hey!! Was that aimed at me?! I’ll have you know, I would have had to had a child really young for Jordana to be young enough to be my daughter!! Not, like, impossibly young, but… Shut up! Really young! Really!)
(**no, shut up, Jordana, you totally do not remember 9/11, quit your bullshitting! Sorry, it’s a sore subject, I have a friend who was born in 1987 and claims she remembers the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, and… Gah! SHUT THE FUCK UP, Kate!! Of course you don’ fucking remember that you absolute fucking buffoon!! Grrrrrrrrrrr! I wish we lived in America, because I would totally just buy a gun and shoot you in the fucking face!!)
But, fuck, she’s battled through it all, hasn’t she? The freaking trooper. And her second (solo) album is an absolutely unexpected triumph of brass rings being firmly clasped. Her 2019 debut was a wonderfully constructed work of incisive bedroom pop, but since signing to a proper label and being afforded even more resources to craft her sound with, Jordana has improved on her previous work substantially, making an album that isn’t just an extraordinary glimpse into what she might be capable of in the future, but a clear example of the magic she’s producing right fucking now. It’s expertly produced, the guitars fuzz like early grunge but the soundscapes click like contemporary artrock. All the best stuff that she’s ever produced is either on this record or on the surrounding one off singles (also essential).
Well, apart from Canvas. That naked and raw paean to rumpy pumpy was the clear highlight of her debut album, and similar songs are perhaps the one thing missing from the otherwise effervescent follow-up. No, not songs about banging, I mean more songs that are stripped down to the bare essentials and really stand out as defenceless emotional punches among the immaculately produced surrounding album.
Sigh, I really shouldn’t have mentioned Jordan’s parents having sex a few paragraphs back, should I?You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you? Filthy creep.