Jill Sobule has been a one-hit wonder when her single “I Kissed a Girl” broke in the 1990s. She’s been an indie actress. She’s been a crowdfunding trailblazer, getting her fans to pay for her 2009 album California Years. She’s been a queer-rights folksinger.
So when she tells you nostalgia kills, she knows what she’s talking about. At a point in her life and career when most people start looking into the rear view mirror and figuring out where they peaked, Sobule has released a collection of songs about breaking up and fighting for what she loves, and it’s easily her best album in years—maybe ever. She took eight years to write these songs, and it shows. There are several songs on here that will break your heart. Others will make you think back to when you last got your heart broken. Maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of the gradual erosion of my own marriage, but a song like “I Put My Headphones On,” about a woman “back in the guilt cage” built for her by her lover, who just puts headphones on to block it all out…Wow.
There are also a few covers. She takes The Five Stairsteps’ Ooh Child and transforms it from a song of inspiration to a song of desperate hope, and she does an especially quiet and acoustic cover of a song she’s done before: Warren Zevon’s Don’t Let Us Get Sick, one of the saddest and most powerful love songs ever written.
This album gets my highest recommendation.