It’s been a little over one pandemic-consuming year since Portland-based musician Jenny Logan released new music. Thankfully, the latest 7” digital single from Deathlist—Logan’s solo endeavor—finds the venerable Rose City musician breaking her radio silence.
Recorded at Destination: Universe with Victor Nash and Mastered at Sky Onion, “Tearing Up” packs three songs-worth of material into a tight 2:36 run time. The song opens with electronic staccato—stinging sharper than the teeth on a bandsaw—followed by Logan’s prominent honey-hazed vocals, “Tearing up/Tearing up in my hand.” As the melody transitions to an ominous undulated eardrum buzz, she sings verse variations of the refrain, “I find the ocean in my reflection.” But just when you think you have this song pegged, Logan’s vocals echo-out into a brief pause, giving way to a bopping bass line, a steady drum beat and Richter Scale guitar squalls, adding a palpable kinetic tension to the intent behind Logan’s confessional lyrics.
“[‘Tearing Up’] is about trying to speak and having your words refigured or co-opted and depoliticized,” says Logan. She went back to school at the University of London in October and her dissertation research concerns sexual violence and its political and social causes. “[It’s] about trying to speak about a problem and essentially crying into your own hand, producing a spectacle for others to merely consume instead of change.”
“One thing I’ve looked at is the ‘me too’ movement’s incitement for women to produce more and more speech with no real analysis of the way sexual violence is racialized and classed, how it is perpetuated and why,” adds Logan. “I think getting out of this cycle requires us to go beyond speech to political organizing and anti-capitalist action, which I think more and more people are starting to realize as COVID-19 has exposed the truly racist and exploitative nature of our global economic system.”
When not pursuing an advanced degree or writing music, Logan teaches a survey class at the University of Oregon School of Law for graduating students preparing for the bar exam. “I see all of it as creative work (lawyering teaching and writing in addition to music), and I’m grateful for that.”
“Tearing Up” is a song that is not only prescient, but just so damn good that it demands repeat listens. Given the caliber of Jenny Logan’s songwriting abilities, it’s not a matter of if but rather when she’ll be releasing more amazing music.
Tearing Up is available at Deathlist’s Bandcamp page on 6/4 and will be streaming everywhere on 6/11.