Jen Chapin – Linger

Music Reviews Jen Chapin
Jen Chapin – Linger

Yes, she’s Harry’s daughter, but don’t expect the long, folky story songs her old man perfected. On her third album, Jen Chapin delivers sophisticated jazz-pop inflected by R&B and soul. Comparisons with one Norah Jones seem inevitable, however misplaced. To her credit, Chapin’s scope is broader than Jones’, both musically and lyrically, and her literate, socially conscious lyrics manage to communicate deep personal conviction without turning preachy.

Husband Stephan Crump’s bass work is exceptional throughout, Peter Rende’s keyboards are understated and sympathetic, and at their best these tunes offer fine, updated versions of the traditional jazz-piano-trio format. “Manchild,” a portrait of a gang member in the making, and “Passive People,” a scathing lament about societal apathy, are representative of Chapin’s lyrical reach, and they’re both strong and memorable.

Only one problem: Jen can’t sing like her old man, or like Norah, for that matter, and her flat, nasal delivery is off-putting and distracting. “Good at Love” answers the question of what Olive Oyl would sound like as a torch singer, and on “Hurry Up Sky,” a lament for a lost friend is sabotaged by consistently whiny vocals. There are a few songs that make me want to come back for more, but linger with this one? Only with the remote control firmly in hand.

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