Judy Blank Reflects on Falling in Love Too Early in "1995" (premiere)

Photo: Satellite June / Courtesy of Baby Robot Media

Ahead of her AmericanaFest appearances, Dutch artist Judy Blank looks back on her ruminative song, "1995".

Judy Blank is about to achieve a milestone for Dutch artists, set to be the first one to perform at AmericanaFest later this month. Blank has since garnered international acclaim for her emotive songwriting. Blank's 2018 LP, Morning Sun, is awash with American folk influence, inspired by a trip to the U.S. that she had taken following the release of her debut album. Present on the album is "1995", a nostalgic folk song that has Blank mournfully reflect on the feelings of entrapment that she had felt with a past love. Sweet acoustic instrumentation works alongside Blank's warm vocal delivery to delicately craft each heartfelt rumination, making for an ensnaring listen.

In a statement to PopMatters, Blank looks back on the development of "1995" and its aftermath, including the reception that Elton John had given it.

"'1995' is a song about growing pains. The period leading up to writing it was almost as painful as the one that came after. At the time of writing it, I was in a very steady relationship. It was perfect on paper. But something inside me felt trapped like a caged bird. I wanted to spread my metaphorical wings so bad. But I knew that by doing that, I would have to break the heart of someone that loved me unconditionally. I may have been a little bit scared of feeling lonely as well.

"So I decided to stick with doing the dumbest thing ever: not talk about it and silently wishing these feelings would disappear. But they didn't, they stressed me out. And while I was walking around East Nashville, trying to process my feelings, the line 'Maybe I'm Too Young to Grow Old With You' came to me. I wrote it down in my notebook and wrote the whole song with my friend Suzie Brown the next day. It was such a magic moment. The feelings just poured out of me. After we'd written the song, I decided not to say anything to my boyfriend about it. He accidentally heard the song through Suzie's husband, who had helped me record a demo of it. I'm surprised by how long we stayed together after that moment. I remember telling him: 'It's just a song, baby.' Except it never is. I know that now."

Blank continues, "This song turns out to be a favorite of one of my musical heroes: Sir Elton John. He added it to his personal favorite songs playlist, and his team informed me of it. The funny thing about this is that it's one big mystery how the song came to his ears. My label has no idea, I have no idea, and no one took the credit for showing it to him. All I know is one day my phone won't stop buzzing. When I pick it up, I see I have over a hundred Twitter notifications. I'm curious to see what the fuss is about, so I click on the little blue square on my screen and see this".

"I remember thinking: 'This is not real. There's no way that's the real Elton John.' So I put my phone away and then picked it up again. It was still there. It was real. The next day I was playing a live radio show, and in the interview with the radio host, I told the audience what happened the day before. Sitting in the audience was the owner of Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome, where Elton would be playing his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road show. It would be his last ever show in the Netherlands. It was as sold out as it could be. But right after my performance, the man walked up to me and promised me he would get me to the show. And guess what? He didn't forget about it. It was the first and probably the last time of me seeing Elton perform live. The show was incredible and moved me to pieces."

"I would love to meet the man one day and discover how he found out, though. One day."






Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."


The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.


Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.


The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.


Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.


King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.


Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.


Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.


Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.


The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.


Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.


The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.


'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.


Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.


Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.


South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.


Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.


'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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