Jenny Beck Collection
By Melissa Minners
I was first introduced to Jenny Beck’s music two decades ago when I was writing for another website. I was handed an album called Morning Rain to review and I fell in love with the vocals and lyrics on the album. Jenny Beck’s melodic voice reminded me of notable artists like Sarah McLaughlin, Sheryl Crow and the Indigo Girls. Three albums and a two-song demo CD later and I still listen to Jenny Beck’s music, longing for more. I got that in the form of a compilation CD of her material called Jenny Beck Collection.
The album features songs from Morning Rain, Jenny Beck, Forgotten Years and On the Outside. The music spans the years 2003-2006 and features all of my favorites. We begin with Shoot Him Down, a track that showed a new style for Jenny Beck at the time the album came out. It’s gritty and brutally honest and a lot of fun to sing along with. Up next is Clouds in which the singer wants to stay asleep, adrift in her dreams because “sometimes reality terrifies me.” Four Senses follows and speaks of a love lost and how she would rather lose for senses if it would bring that love back to her. Next is Out of Reach, another of the love lost songs that describes just how it feels when it’s over: “It hurts to breathe / It hurts to cry / And now I see / What it feels like when love dies.”
The fifth track on this twelve-track album is from Jenny Beck’s self-titled album. Like Nobody Else Can Do is a love song so passionate and believable that it will bring tears to the listener’s eyes. We break it up a bit with the next track from her first album, Amy (American Girl) in which the singer reminds us that each day of life is a treasure not to be wasted. On My Way is a story about a man met on the street who tells the singer how he ended up down on his luck. Once again, we are reminded not to take anything for granted in life as we can lose it all in the blink of an eye. Forgotten Years follows, a song filled with self-reflection as the singer looks back on her past, searching for those forgotten years of her life.
The ninth track of the album is For You, another beautiful love song in which the singer tells her loved on that she will do anything for them, but there is one catch – she’s not willing to give up her identity and what makes her who she is. It’s a love song, but it’s an empowering love song – one you don’t find often on the radio. Somebody is the catchy and fun track that rounded out the On the Outside album that shows off Beck’s vocal range with a portion of the song sung acapella. And those lyrics – I can sing them in my sleep they’re so catchy: “Somebody to rely on / A shoulder You can cry on / Somebody you ca turn to / When you’re feeling down / Somebody to hold on to / Someone you can come home to / Somebody who won’t let you down / Who’ll always be around.”
Up next is Everything, another catchy tune in which Jenny Beck shows off her audio engineering skills, mixing herself in on background vocals in several different styles that help make this song that much more fun to listen to. And finally, we have Morning Rain, the song that made me sit up and take notice, not only for opening featuring the sounds of falling rain or the beautiful folksy vocals and guitar, but for the insightful lyrics about people so entrenched in rushing around to complete their daily activities that they can’t find the beauty in the world around them: “If only they’d stop / And end their rat race / then maybe they’d see this beautiful place.”
Over the years, I’ve listened to my Jenny Beck albums so often I’ve almost worn them out, so it was great to receive Jenny Beck Collections with all of my favorite songs from the artist included. This is definitely a great album for Jenny Beck fans, but it makes an even better album to introduce new listeners to her music, showcasing her vocal range and ability to insert herself into any genre. Now if only we can persuade her to create some new music…please…pretty please…we really want to hear more of that beautiful voice and those incredible storytelling lyrics you create.