Jorma Whittaker – Self-Titled (CD)

Starting out with nothing more than a piano and an almost whispered-out voice, Jorma makes it painfully clear that this is his record, putting this seven-minute composition on the listeners plate instead of some fancier and more gaudy track. Oddly enough, “Clocks in the Sun” is cut from the same fabric as another decidedly lo-fi track, in the surprise dance hit “Shake Your Booty” by Josh Jenkins. Repetitive to prove a point, both tracks increase the importance of their respective messages by constructing the musical equivalent of a commercial. By hearing the same thing over and over, one has to take in the message, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. While “Leaves” is just a brief interlude between the opus that is “Clocks in The Sun” and the slow “If It’s Over”. More distortion filled than the rest of the disc up to this point is “Molly Melancholy”, which still follows the largely anemic and apathetic love-themed songs of Jorma.

Repetition comes back in strong form during “Favorite”, which uses the same piano line throughout the song over and over, but fails to deliver any message besides raising thoughts in my mind that this song is incomplete. Moving away from the slow-tempoed tracks during “Man With Money”, Jorma still has a bleak outlook on life.” Jaded with love, “Man With Money” is the song about a woman who is looking for the title man. Unrelentless in keeping his vocal delivery steady throughout the disc, some serious limitations are found when every song sounds as if it was an outtake for “That Thing You Do”. When the only thing that changes from track to track is whether the song has a downbeat or upbeat tempo, one should really wonder exactly what the artist is trying to say with the disc.

Perhaps Jorma is sure that love will begin and end the same way : Jorma at the end of this disc is without a love, and is trying to strike it out on his own. Not sure whether he can do it or objectively retell all off the lost loves, he has made this effort a solo one instead of a Marmoset. The repetitive beat, the same semi-raspy vocal delivery : these are all necessities for relationships, and Jorma plays no more than a pawn in the stories that need to be told. What is left at the end of this disc is a man, a burden released from his shoulders, and an audience that has taken the sour, repetitive notes of lost love and incorporated them into their own experiences.

Jorma Whittaker – Self-Titled / 13 Tracks / 2003 Secretly Canadian Records / http://www.secretlycanadian.com / jonathan@secretlycanadian.com / Reviewed : 28 July 2003 / Released 19 August 2003

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