Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Jennifer O'Connor always sounds so breakable and yet so resilient. Not sure what it is that makes her so, but she's one of those people full of a million questions of her own, whom everyone would think of first if they were looking for some insight, for just a few tiny answers. She seems like the kind of woman who's keeping a lot to herself, even when she's baring the fuck out of her soul. It's not crass to describe it as such, either. It's what it is. It's messy, heart-pounding and mostly desired by both parties - that soul-baring. It's rough to listen to, in patches, even when we know that it's such a natural act.
She's the kind of woman who, when asked how she's been, will give you that stock answer that she's been great or that she can't complain, but there's enough of a hesitation, or that pregnant pause, that tells you that she's hurting like crazy on the other side of that modest smile and those swollen eyes. There are all kinds of places that she's been, states that she's been in and many of them have been unwarranted. They've been unkind and fruitless. She's been left or she's left and there's never anything easy about such a thing, but there's always a need to just roll back out of bed the next morning, or the next afternoon, depending on how bad it stings.
The place where she hits us hardest is when things are feeling right, even when they're make-believe. The song, "Hidden Hill," from her latest album, "I Want What You Want," puts together a gorgeous place that exists elsewhere, a lump of earth covered by blanket of grass that you'd find on the fairway at Augusta - not a weed in it, immaculate. It feels like a place where she'd finally be able to rest, where she'd finally be able to seek the loving arms that she's been looking for for so damned long. She knows that if they're anywhere, they're in that spot, for she's placed them there - conveniently, if impossibly. She wants to find them. There are days when, not finding them, could send her off the deep end. She places them in this idyllic song where love lingers for her, with nothing better to do. She sings, "The pond was frozen/We walked out on it/The day's never ended/Like movies on television/We were suspended up in the air/We felt like children/But we didn't care/I know a place where time stands still/Everything exactly as it seems/Meet me on top of that hidden hill/We'll live together in our dreams." Love pauses for her. It has to. It has to be hers. Someday, out there on that perfect hill.
Jennifer O'Connor Official Site