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Jann Arden


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Mainstream pop

Status:

Most recent release, Uncover Me 2 (covers, 2011); most recent release of new, original material, Free (2009)

See also:

Jann Arden's site

Comparisons:

Sometimes Jann reminds me very much of Sarah McLachlan. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

I find her music too smooth and mainstream pop for me, but those of you who like softer pop will probably like her. (Neile)

Jann Arden is a Canadian artist who had a breakout success with her second album last year. She certainly falls in the closer-to-mainstream layer of ectoness. She's sort of like Mae Moore with a bit more variety to her sound. A bit too top-40 for me, but a few people around these parts are into her. Saw her live at the Canada Day Friendship Festival, and wasn't overly impressed. (meth@smoe.org)

Jann Arden—a little too bland for my tastes. (woj@smoe.org)

Jann Arden gets a fair bit of airplay 'round here, as she's Canadian and so Can-Con (Canadian content rules) fodder. She does moderately slick, sentimental and unremarkable pop. Lyrically and vocally she's characterized by a rather "woe is me / I'm a martyr" style. Needless to say I don't really recommend her stuff and don't consider her particularly ectophilic. Your kilometreage may vary. (nkg@vcn.bc.ca)

Recordings include:


Time For Mercy

Release info:

1993—A&M—540 071-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of mainstream pop

Group members:

Jann Arden—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

David Resnik—guitars
Bob Foster, Johnny Lee Schell—guitar, background vocals
Sid Page—violin
Tom A. Talley—viola
Kevan Torfeh—cello
Mickey Raphael—harmonica
Marc J. Goodman—piano
Jeffrey "CJ" Vanston—piano, keyboards, Hammond B-3, synthesizer, percussion
Dominic Genova—acoustic bass
Kenny Lyon—bass
Jim Keltner—drums
Lenny Castro, Iky Levy—percussion
Moose Arlidge, Ed Cherney—background vocals

Produced by:

Ed Cherney

Comments:

Better on the acoustic numbers (such as "We Do Some Strange Things") than the up-tempo numbers. (Tim.Cook@Swift.Com)

Living Under June

Release info:

1994 (Canada); 1995 (US)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of mainstream pop

Group members:

Jann Arden—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Dave Resnik—acoustic & electric guitars
Mike Lent—acoustic guitar, bass
Bob Foster—guitar
Jeffrey "C.J." Vanston—piano, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, B-3 organ, drum programming
Kenny Aronoff—drums, percussion
Lin Elder, Ed Cherney—background vocals

Produced by:

Ed Cherney

Comments:

I bought Jann Arden's Living Under June, two days ago and it hasn't left my CD player since then. What a great album! The title song is very Sarah McLachlan-like, for instance. My favorite tracks are the last two, the third, the fifth.... (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Happy?

Release info:

1997—A&M

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of mainstream pop

Group members:

Jann Arden—vocals

Guest artists:

Mark Goldenberg—various instruments
Greg Leisz—acoustic, electric, slide, lap steel, pedal steel & baritone guitars
Russell Broom—electric guitar
Bill Reichenbach—bass trombone
Jeffrey Vanston—piano, keyboards, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, percussion programming
Mike Lent, James Hutchinson, Jennifer Condos—bass
Jim Keltner, Kenny Aronoff—drums, percussion
Debra Dobkin, Lenny Castro—percussion
Dillon O'Brian, Lin Elder—background vocals

Produced by:

Ed Cherney

Comments:

I haven't heard much of this yet, but the little bit I have sounds promising—I've really grown to love her voice. (jjhanson@att.net)

I'm enjoying it. It's mellower than her previous ones, but shows good songwriting. Some people on ecto find Jann's music to be rather bland, or too radio-friendly. I have to disagree. Sure she had a huge American hit with "Insensitive," but Jann writes some powerful stuff disguised as Top 40 ready pop. The question mark at the end of this album's title is indicative of the dark natures of the ostensible love songs included on it. Jann's raspy voice and somber melodies are the perfect vehicle for the thoughtful lyrics she writes. (colford@chlotrudis.org)


Blood Red Cherry

Release info:

2000—Universal Music—012157527-2

Availability:

Available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans; recommended for all else.

Group members:

Jann Arden—vocals
Greg Bissonette—drums, cymbals
David Faragher—bass
Russell Broom—guitars, bass, casio keyboard, drum loops, moog bass on "Piece of it All"
Mark Goldenberg—keyboards, guitars, drum loops, background vocals on "Best Dress"
Dillon O'Brian—background vocals

Guest artists:

Allison Cornell—violin "Mend" and "Sorry for Myself"
Jim Cuddy—background vocals "Mend"
Ed Cherney—background vocals "Best Dress"
Jennifer Condos—bass "I Only Wanted Sex"
Rami Jaffee—B3 organ, keyboards "I Only Wanted Sex"
Mauricio Lewak—percussion "I Only Wanted Sex"
Phil Shenale—keyboards, drum loops "Sorry for Myself" and "Another Human Being"

Produced by:

Ed Cherney & Mark Goldenberg

Comments:

Jann Arden's 4th album, Blood Red Cherry, continues her low-key, mid-tempo pop/rock/balladeering style, but on this album, Jann adds some sassy brashness and irony to the mix on tracks like "Best Dress" and "I Only Wanted Sex." Jann's one of those artists who can sound totally mainstream one minute, but the next minute you realize there's a lot more going on in terms of melody, lyrics and song structure. Check out the exquisite "Another Human Being." Blood Red Cherry is a fine continuation in this talented musician's career. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

The new Jann Arden though is fantastic—I'm just amazed by it. It's definitely my favorite album by her. Wide range of emotions, and though it sounds sometimes like standard pop, her lyrics can really say a lot. Anyone knew who the song "Jeanine" is about? Pretty scathing.
     I've always liked Jann Arden, but always felt her albums were good, but not particularly compelling. The songwriting was "pretty" and "nice", and she had a interesting voice. With this year's release, Jann gets angry, and writes some of the most exciting material of her career. Emotionally varied from great love ballads (her "Cherry Popsicle" is a bit like Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream"), to bitter angry songs ("I Only Wanted Sex" and "Jeanine"), and some songs that are just phenomenal pop songs ("Another Human Being", and "Best Dress"). I got this album at a particularly emotional time in my life (during the ending of a twelve year relationship) and it seemed to echo the entire gamut of emotions I was feeling. I'm sure that whenever I play this album I'll be reminded of this time. (jjhanson@att.net)

I've heard three or four songs from it and they are just amazing! I love her voice...all of her albums stay in my cd player almost constantly. One of the songs "Another human being" really struck a chord with me. (RocketsTail@aol.com)


Live with the Vancouver Symphony

Release info:

2002—Universal (Canada)—044006-60392-6

Availability:

Limited edition; available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Jann Arden fans

Comments:

This is a solid live album, and Jann's material benefits from the addition of the symphony, but the real highlights are the hilarious stories included. Rarely on live CDs would I ever skip the music to listen to the in-between song patter, but this one is one I find myself doing that every time I play it for someone. (jjhanson@att.net)

Uncover Me

Release info:

2007—Fontana University

Availability:

Wide in Canada

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Jann Arden fans

Group members:

Jann Arden—vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Dave Alcock—clapping
Pat Bellaveau—baritone sax, tenor sax
Russell Broom—guitar, percussion, lap steel guitar
Bruce Leitl—piano, strings, keyboards, loops, Fender Rhodes, string arrangements
Mike Lent—bass
Lyle Molzan—percussion, drums, clapping
Jim Murray & the Caravan—trumpet
Kristyn Osborn—backing vocals
Theresa Plotnick—viola

Produced by:

Jann Arden and Russell Broom

Comments:

Jann's latest is a pretty decent collection of cover songs—the weakest track in my opinion is the kick off track—Freda Payne's anti-war song "Bring the Boys Home." To me, Jann just sounds a bit screechy on this track, but the album picks up after that. Other songs include "California Dreamin';" "Peace Train;" a surprisingly good version of Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield;" "You're So Vain;" "Downtown;" and "Solitaire," plus a few others. A pretty decent covers album, but lacks some of the emotional depth of her own recordings. (jjhanson@att.net)

Further info:

Jann Arden has written a memoir, Falling Backwards (Knopf Canadian Publishing, 2011)


Thanks to Michael Colford and Marisa Woods for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2012-02-15 21:40:06.
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