Jason Reeves – The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache and Other Frightening Tales
I can’t really remember how I discovered Jason Reeves. It must’ve been at the end of 2008 and possibly when I was in my Colbie Caillat phase. Anyway, I guess that doesn’t really matter. I discovered him. And I downloaded The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache and Other Frightening Tales.
Opening with the vaguely titled Someone Somewhere, you are immediately greeted with Reeves’ vocals and guitar playing. He’s not outstanding on either, but he’s very likeable. And extremely listenable. His songs are well written. In fact, I’d say that his song-writing is his greatest talent. He knows how to emote feelings into words. And then cleverly throw them together to form a song.
The beginning of Happy Accident is lovely. Using the simile “like a million people trying to catch a train on a Tuesday” to describe the craziness of running into a girl. When you listen carefully to his lyrics, you realise how much sense they make. The thought of premodifying an ‘accident’ with ‘happy’ could almost be seen as an antonym. Yet it makes so much sense in the context of the song. And concluding the song with the aforementioned line from the beginning of the song works really well to create that cyclical structure inspiring you to give it another listen.
You in a Song is a beautiful song lyrically. It’s a song about the desire to write a song. I’m guessing you could have probably guessed that from the title. He wants to “put your smile on paper”. This would be a difficult task for most songwriters so he works around it to create lyrics that display the same raw emotion.
The track list continues with Reaching, Pretty Eyes and Entwined. All three are pretty slow-paced and combine guitar and piano behind Reeves’ voice. They each appear to be about a girl. As do most of the songs on this particular album, which is particularly apt for the title of it. He’s found a formula that works and I don’t blame him for sticking to it.
Sunbeam Lights is just one minute long. I wish it was longer. The few lyrics say so much. It sounds truly heartfelt with the vocals laid on top of some simple piano playing.
In Never Find Again, the song sounds like it is being directed at one individual. One female individual. He sings of this girl saying how love is nothing like the movies. But the way he sings about love makes it seem as though it could be a classic RomCom storyline. Actually, this song could easily be the kind of track that’s laid over a RomCom where the “will they, won’t they” couple inevitably come across a hiccup, before realising that they are perfect for each other. I think Reeves should definitely look into this as an additional career path.
The longest song on the album, New Hampshire still keeps me listening for the 6:37 duration of it. His voice feels so welcoming that it would feel rude to skip through any of this song. Whilst it’s a long song, there’s little I can say to describe it other than that you should really listen to it yourself.
There’s a line in Old Fashion Letters that I love – “with crossed out words that you took back like “Do you really miss me?” Simple lines like this can say a lot. The pragmatics behind them are clear enough that further description is not necessary.
Just Friends is another song that I think would work well in a RomCom (Yes, I’m a bit of a sucker for this genre). The lyrics are quite obvious and blunt in comparison to other tracks on the album. To put it simply: He does not want to be just friends. So whoever it was written for should really listen up.
I’m never quite sure about The Fragrant Taste of Rain. It’s not so much of a song as words spoken on top of a few piano notes. I’m far more fond of Gasoline with it’s dramatic beat creating suspense. Another song about a relationship (quelle surprise!), the title comes from the line “covering my heart in gasoline”. Preparing his heart to be set alight is quite a dramatic idea. And it’s more original than a million other love songs that I’ve heard.
My two favourite songs fall right at the end of this fifteen song strong album. Photographs & Memories and The End know how to pull at your heartstrings. The former ends with the beautifully written line “cause every line on your face makes a beautiful maze for my eyes to trace”. Whilst the latter sings of that moment of realisation after a break up where you see that you’re the one who has got to make a change. But it’s written optimistically. It has not been written to depress you. In fact the line “Every ending’s a new beginning” is a motto by which I believe everyone should live by. In all senses, it mimics that saying about doors closing whilst others open. We shouldn’t dwell on the past, but embrace the future for all the new opportunities it is about to offer.
It’s a long album. Containing several long songs. But it’s worth listening to them all (bar The Fragrant Taste of Rain if I’m being fussy). It’s definitely Reeves’ best album. And it truly does take you on a magnificent adventure of heartache.