Nashville rock quartet Those Darlins will release their latest album, Blur The Line, on October 1. The record marks the band’s first project with producer Roger Moutenot (Velvet Underground, Yo La Tengo) and new bassist Adrian Barrera. Those Darlins recorded a video of Jessi Zazu’s in-studio vocal take for “Oh God,” a chillingly unrestrained track that is one of the highlights of Blur The Line. Check it out below.
Zazu takes American Songwriter through the writing of the record, and how she wrote “Oh God” to free her mind from a haunting experience.
The goal in writing this record was to produce something honest and original. I spent long hours in solitude looking for the songs I was going to contribute. I didn’t want to just write songs to be writing songs, I wanted to discover. As with any creative endeavor, I discovered many things, mostly about myself and my reactions to the world around me. I found the more honest I was in my writing, the more connected I felt with the songs.
It’s not as if I ever lied in songs before, but this was distinctly different than some of the songs I had previously written. My intent had changed. Before, I viewed songwriting as a means of writing something that I enjoyed and therefore others could enjoy. Of course there was self-expression, but I thought a lot about what I needed to express to everyone else. This time around I focused on what I needed to express to myself. I filled notebook after notebook, trying to capture the thoughts that were in my mind. I also did a lot of drawing, focusing on self-portraits, which was a way to bring myself into the right side of the brain and get creative with the writing. It helped me forget the rest of the world and focus on my own discoveries of who I am. I can’t say that my songs on Blur the Line are a complete description of who I am, but more like glimpsing in the window of a big house.
“Oh God” started as a journaling session about an experience that haunted my head. Sometimes I think of these journaling experiences and the songs that come out of them as exorcisms of demons that want to stick around and bring me guilt and unrest. I hunt them down, one by one, and by recognizing them I somehow can find ways to accept them. It was particularly satisfying to be able to articulate my feelings in the way that I did with “Oh God,” but still not have to give it all away. It helped me put the situation in perspective and walk away stronger because of it.