Friday, November 10, 2023

Juniper - "I Was Thinking About You"

Juniper has been one of the most exciting new talents to emerge in the indie pop world this decade. This first-year college student already has two delightful albums under her belt — the most recent of which is destined to land in my year-end top ten list. Now she's back with a new single that is perhaps the best representation yet of her musical appeal. While quite reminiscent of '70s AM radio pop on the production end, "I Was Thinking About You" sounds remarkably contemporary. In all honesty, this song could be on commercial radio right now. Its creation was inspired by Juniper playing some Harry Styles songs for her father Michael Shelley — and Michael then trying his hand at writing something in a similar vein but from his musical point of view. What results is one of 2023's most memorable and irresistible singles. 

More than just a breakup song, "I Was Thinking About You" describes what it's like to have an ex living in your head rent-free and the toll that can take on your day-to-day life. Of course the hook is pure gold, but literally everything about this song hits the spot. Juniper's laidback vocal is absolutely perfect for the song, and her tone will just about give you chills. Steve Goulding (Mekons, The Rumour, Nick Lowe) on drums, Guillermina Pagano on saxophone, Dave Amels on harmonium, and Isaac Holmes on lead guitar all elevate the song with fantastic musical performances. The lyrics, which mix humor with heartbreak, will surely connect with individuals who've lived a story similar to the one the song tells. There's no denying it: "I Was Thinking About You" is a stone cold hit! On the virtual flipside, "Ride Between The Cars" is an alternate version of a song from Juniper's latest album She Steals Candy. This version with acoustic guitar and a slower rhythm was initially scrapped after one take, but it has been resurrected for this single with some added keyboards. The original was one of my favorite songs from She Steals Candy, but I must admit I like this version even better. Clearly the Shelleys knew they had something in this alternate take, and they were wise to bring it back to life. There's something in the instrumentation here that really suits the tenderness and melancholy of the lyrics and vocals. While "I Was Thinking About You" is a digital-only release, it's designed like a classic pop 45. If you're a Juniper fan, I don't think there's any question that you will love this single.

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