When you are given an opportunity to say something with your music, it seems a waste if you don’t embrace and use that moment. And, the releasing of even the humblest song is just such a chance. So why do so many people squander the moment? Sure, some songs can be entertainment, and why not? But the more imaginative artists realize that music can educate and entertain; if you do that, you are really making the most of the moment you have been given.
Change Is Coming, the latest release from Jennifer Harper is an excellent example of this duality in action. On the one hand, it is a terrific slice of modern folk music, but folk music that echoes with traditions and traits that are nothing less than timeless – the tribal beat that drives it, the lush harmonies, the excellent use of dynamics to ebb and flow, lift and pull, stop and start. But more than that, it is the wisdom and message which sit at the heart of the song which is the real charm.
If the pandemic and lockdowns of recent years had any form of silver lining, it allowed us all to slow down, to stop and think, to have space to explore ideas and remind ourselves of who we are and how we feel about our place in the world.
And in the case of Change Is Coming, it allowed Jennifer Harper the change not just to consider her place in the world but the place of women as a whole. And so the song is a celebration of womanhood and a timely call to arms on her sisters’ behalf.
The change she calls for via the song is firstly a personal one, but the collective strength and support of the other women in her life gave her the power to face her jealousies and judgments, faults and failings so that she could shed old skin and grow. But more than that, it is also a rallying cry for the unity of women, for them to stop working against each other and turn those energies towards building a world where they are better represented.
It is a simple song; one built mainly on understated beats and simple conversation with the listener. Still, such an approach always resonates with the audience far more than complex arguments and ornate musical vehicles.
Simple, direct, poignant, and consequential, Change Is Coming is the most gentle yet wonderfully effective act of sonic revolution you will have heard in a long time.