Jay Som
Everybody Works



by DadEsquire USER (7 Reviews)
October 5th, 2017 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the more sonically diverse yet cohesive projects I've heard this year.

Every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon an album that strongly resonates with the situation the album finds me in; it can be through the emotions expressed, the lyrical themes, or simply the sound of the music. And as I inch closer and closer to graduating and entering the real world, I’ve been experiencing the existential dread and angst that all early twenty-somethings go through at this point in their lives. Melina Duterte, who writes and performs under the name Jay Som, is no different. As a 22-year-old songwriter, she’s experiencing similar emotions of anxiety, depression, and uncertainty, all of which she documents on her proper debut album Everybody Works. Duterte’s hopeful perspective on such topics and the expansive and diverse set of songs she uses to explore them make an album that’s a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

This angst exhibits itself in tracks like the jazzy stand-out “One More Time, Please,” which details Duterte’s internal struggles with a romantic interest, or on “Remain,” where she explores the feeling of being in a relationship that has hit the point of no return. “Take It” sees Duterte fighting against the pity party that so often find ourselves in when steeped in the throes of depression. She fights against it, expressing the desire to “replace [her] sad with happy / and take it out for a spin,” and later joking “if my memory serves me right / you were easy to break” when her depression threatens to take over again.

The album’s sprawling closer “For Light” lets the listener know that not all of life is bad. “I’ll be right on time / Open the blinds for light / Won’t forget to climb” Duterte repeats toward the end of the song, acknowledging we need to be aware of the bright spots in life, and climb––work––toward those things when they present themselves. Everybody has something they’re working through, hence the album’s title, and Duterte believes that we will all work through these struggles eventually.

Everybody Works is among the more sonically diverse yet cohesive projects I’ve heard this year. Duterte acknowledges and embraces her eclectic songwriting but added in an interview with Pitchfork, “you know it’s me” (1). Indeed, this is the case on Everybody Works, as there’s something embedded in the midst of the tracks––some jangly, some jazzy, and some fuzzy––that signifies it as a Jay Som track. Perhaps it’s the lushness and layering of the instrumentation; perhaps it’s the emotions and insecurities expressed; perhaps it’s something more––something that defies description. It may be a combination of any one of those three, but whatever it is, it makes for a very good album.


FAVORITE TRACKS: The Bus Song; One More Time, Please; Baybee; (BedHead); For Light


RATING: 8/10

(1) – taken from an interview with Pitchfork.com – “All of my songs are so different, but you know it’s me. I just don’t like staying in one place at all.” http://pitchfork.com/features/rising/10017-jay-soms-hard-working-dream-pop/

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 5th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

i wrote this for my university's newspaper back in april. i still feel a very strong emotional connection to this album, and it's looking like i may continue to do so.

also, if you enjoy this album, do whatever you can to see her live. she's an absolute treat.

October 5th 2017


Nice job. Might check her out, although the "jazzy" thing gives me pause.

Digging: Neil Cavanagh - City of the Sun, Valley of the Moon

October 5th 2017


Jay Som is the musical project of the American, Oakland, California-based songwriter Melina Duterte. Her debut album, Turn Into, was released on Polyvinyl Records.

October 5th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

yes, that is correct. "turn into" was originally self-released on her bandcamp, and was later rereleased by polyvinyl. "everybody works" is technically her second album, but it's the first of her's to receive a proper release, hence the clarification in the first paragraph about this being her "proper debut album."

"jazzy" might not be the best word. "funky" might be a bit more appropriate. the song "one more time, please" is the one specifically i have in mind when i'm talking about this sound: https://jaysom.bandcamp.com/track/one-more-time-please

October 5th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

rules ruelz rolz

October 5th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

good review, although i wouldnt call any of this jazzy. this album is still one of my 2017 favourites

October 6th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

came across this on the spotifies, and it's p. good

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

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