There’s a funny thing about anxiety: it doesn’t always manifest itself in the form of frenetic, jittery, loud, and-or visibly messy emotions. Sometimes, folks can appear to weather the inevitabilities of day-to-day life happening on the outside, while anxiety about things happening around, or to them, stir up thoughts and feelings – seemingly quietly or at least more presumably neatly – on the inside. This other vantage point around this particular perceived “look” of anxiety is one way the describe the mood and sonic aesthetic of the latest song from Canadian indie alternative pop songwriter, Jeen.
Premiering today on American Songwriter is “Deep End,” a new single from Jeen’s upcoming self-titled album, which is set for release on October 9, 2020.
“The song was inspired by depression and anxiety,” Jeen explains. “It was produced by me and Ian Blurton.”
Even if that were the only thing one were told about “Deep End” before hearing its primary instrumentation and central tonality set, the parallel would still stand. The majority of this song is propelled by clean and precise synth tones, consistent cymbal splashes on the upbeat of measures in the verses and, save for a few bars in the middle of the verses, a restrained amount of reverb on Jeen’s vocals. Heavier application of reverb might seem more fitting for the purposes of creating a laid back, atmospheric vibe in the melody. However, the minimal use thereof doesn’t create the opposite effect. Such subtle finesse with the song’s stylistic shaping is unsurprising, given how well Jeen and Blurton (Change of Heart, C’mon, Future Now) – instrumental collaborator and “Deep End” co-producer – know one another.
“I thought (Ian and I) had finished the (upcoming) record but then decided it needed a few more single vibe songs. So, “Deep End” was in this batch of three (songs) we added a little after the fact. I’ve been working with Ian for a few years now – some recording, mixing, guitars – but it was nice to finally be in Pro Gold (Recording Studio) with him making a proper full album, top to bottom,” says Jeen.
What Jeen offers is a synth-driven pop track that, despite not focusing on a sonically loose or heavily blended style of sound, “Deep End” does project that sense of aforementioned neatness, by simply taking the external mental concept and channeling it through the instrumentation. The sonic relationship between the very clear, straightforward vocals and the blunt sounding notes of the low register synth tones, establish a feeling of aural clarity and balance. Nevertheless, in opting for this slightly starker production style, the music also exudes the feeling that there’s an underlying degree of malaise in the air and-or on the mind because it would be easy to hear “Deep End” with a more lush approach to note blending, given Jeen’s use of electronic parts. Either way, this track is neat for all the right reasons. It’s crisp to listen to, catches the ear easily, and has a hook that’s just repetitious enough to be memorable (one could even say it’s written that way to mirror the common cycle of having anxious thoughts), without drowning among the ambient hustle and bustle of life’s occasionally anxiety-inducing flow.
I’ll be in the deep end
there I’ll go
Called it on a weekend
Should have said no
But with all the voices in my headCouldn’t hear a word you said