Music

Singer-songwriter Jennah Bell Captivates with Tasteful Confessions on "Love Is My Disease" (premiere)

Jordan Blum
Photo: Mallory Talty / Courtesy of Baby Robot Media

The latest single from Jennah Bell's upcoming Anchors & Elephants LP evokes Joni Mitchell, Sia, and Joanna Newsome with its earnest eloquence.

Singer/songwriter Jennah Bell is an artist without many creative borders. As the daughter of Ronnie Bell (co-founder of Kool and the Gang), she's influenced by an array of musical styles—soul, rock, pop, R&B, and folk, to name a few—that instilled in her great variety and skill, leading to appearances in many publications and live shows (such as the BET Awards, SXSW, CMJ's Music Marathon, and the Roots Picnic Music Festival). Nowhere have her diverse gifts been better demonstrated than on her upcoming record, Anchors & Elephants, a beautifully compelling exploration of the uncertainties, heartaches, and other poignant hardships that just about everyone in their 20s experiences. In particular, her latest single, "Love Is My Disease", is a refined and stirring ballad that instantly reveals Bell as an outstanding artist in her own right.

Bell explains that the entire LP is also about "things that kept [her] from moving forward", including not being honest or open with others or herself. As for the song itself, she adds, "after enduring quite a few heartaches, there was a reluctance to fall in love again. It felt like I needed to cure myself of whatever insufferable illness might be causing me to keep throwing my heart into the ring. As a result, I began to expect and even welcome the ache as the remedy. But the 'cure' for love isn't pain; it's more love."

Aided by guitarist Randy Runyon, drummer Ben Marino, keyboardist/pianist Jake Sherman, and bassist Antoine Katz (who is also Bell's boyfriend), she crafts a bittersweet singer/songwriter confessional—in the guise of Joni Mitchell, Sia, and Joanna Newsom—on "Love Is My Disease". Specifically, her empowered and silkily stacked vocals (joined by a male counterpart at times) ignite gospel confessions over dreamily downtrodden instrumentation (including woeful acoustic guitar arpeggios and repentant percussion). It's a powerful and pleasing piece in every way.

Take a listen to "Love Is My Disease" and see if Bell's melodic revelations resonate with you as well. If they do, you should check out Anchors & Elephants—with mixing from Russell Elevado (The Roots, Erykah Badu) and with productions from Michael Haziza and James Poyser (Adele, Norah Jones, John Legend)—in its entirety when it releases on 22 February.

Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2018 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.