While each CD release from Jay Jacobson has marked a major leap in his artistry, what remains consistent is Jacobson’s power to move beyond his comfort zone. Framed and orchestrated in his emotional trip-hop style, his new 12-selection song cycle, Revelations –his third CD release -- is an undeniable benchmark in his evolution as an artist. “This project pushes the limits,” Jacobson notes. “It’s time for me as a person and an artist to dig deeper into themes, to create more incisive lyrics; to discover new melodies in uncharted territories.”
Originally from Philadelphia, Jay grew up on a diverse play list of music, from pop to jazz to classical music to show tunes. His songs offer a creative counter-balance as he speaks his lyrical truths with an expressive tenor voice, a well-honed lyricism and a distinctive melodic style.
With production by Barrett Yeretsian – who also produced Jacobson’s second CD Ready, including the Top Ten International charting single “Boy,” Revelations showcases a framework of diverse rhythms: dance, trip-hop, march and alternative. Thematically, the songs balance on an axis of internal examination and outward observation as the artist touches on themes both personal and universal.
From the onset, urgency is immediate and definitive. “Break These Chains” is an imploring call to change. “Love is Love,” against pizzicato strings and an insistent chorus, is an unmissable anthem for a post-Proposition 8 world. (A video directed by the award-winning Gabriela Tagliavini couples the song’s message with bold, provocative images.)
A return to a natural state in alignment with nature is one of the CD’s themes. “My grandmother is alive at 104,” Jay says. “She remembers life before electricity, plucking feathers from chickens and telling stories in candlelight. Now it has to be immediate: Text it. Email it. Watch reality TV. Is that how we want to live?”
Marching bands, an operatic male chorus, shimmering keyboard arpeggios, hushed internal dialogues and massive choruses: There are many other colors in the music featured on Revelations: from irresistible dance floor celebrations, to meditative journeys inward.
“Mental Creatures” both ends the song cycle and crystallizes it. “Giraffes have evolved long necks to reach the branches, elephants have evolved with great hearing, and we as humans evolved with our minds. But we forget that we too are only creatures, just the ones with big brains.” Jay recalls a trip to the rain forest of Costa Rica. “Monkeys eat the seeds of mahogany trees as delicacies. So to protect themselves, the trees have developed a resistance with an enzyme in their seed that acts as birth control for monkeys. Life is so much more complex than we think it is – we think we’re separate from it all and so caught in these concepts that run us: money, power, greed. We’ve got to get back to humanity.”
That said, Jay Jacobson acknowledges an over-arcing theme that powers the soul of Revelations. “As humans, we have love. And as the song says, ‘Love is Love.’ Everyone needs it.”