PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Jason Collett: Song and Dance Man

Photo: Isis Essery

A versatile assemblage of roots and country-influenced singer/songwriter pop, with splashes of '70s AM soul.


Jason Collett

Song and Dance Man

Label: Arts & Crafts
US Release Date: 2016-02-05
UK Release Date: 2016-02-12
Amazon
iTunes

Toronto resident and sometime Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett is definitely a song man. With a couple of the songs on his seventh album, Song and Dance Man, he’s a dance man as well. These songs, the first two on the album, are steeped in mellow funk and bass groove, with “Provincial Blues” adding in some soul-style backing vocals as well. The other, the title song, kicks the energy up a notch with an insanely catchy, but simple sounding, jangly guitar riff.

From thereon in, though, the funk is gradually left behind as the songs ease into a dependable mid-tempo, acoustic-based pattern, hook-filled and with plenty of sing-a-long choruses (or whistle-a-long as in the case of “Forever Young Is Getting Old”). In short, a versatile assemblage of roots and country-influenced singer/songwriter pop, with splashes of '70s AM soul.

There’s no filler on Song and Dance Man; each song bears repeated plays and throws enough curveballs and snappy lines to keep things interesting. On that title song, for example, a sardonic commentary on technology and popularity in today’s music industry, Collett sings “If you can tweet something brilliant / You got a marketing plan” and “Now that the future has swallowed the past / It’s one step forward and two steps back.”

Collett isn’t shy about crediting his influences either, as he proclaims “we all want to sing in American” in the aptly titled “Singing American”. This extends to the country textures and pedal steel guitar in “Long Day’s Shadow”, and the bouncy roots-rock of “Love You Babe”, which wouldn’t be out place on a Traveling Wilburys’ album. He extends things a bit further south (of the border) in the Mexican-flavored “If She Don’t Love Me Now”.

If there is any weakness with the album, it comes down to the singing. Collett’s laconic vocals, drawing out his vowels and consonants in a suave and smooth-tongued manner, coming across like a more self-conscious Josh Rouse, can seem affected in places. This is most pronounced in those two lead-off, funkier tracks. Granted, it fits more in that style, but whether he manages to pull it off is debatable.

Song and Dance Man is in many ways a taking stock album, a mature album, from “Forever Young Is Getting Old”, to the nostalgia of “Black Oak Savanna”, and to the calm acceptance of “Staring at the Sun”. Though he’s been writing strong material throughout his career, this batch of songs, from an older and more seasoned Jason Collett, show that he’s only getting better.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.