Jess Chalker Captures the Way Modern Life Demands of us a Brisk Pace and an Upbeat Attitude Even When We’re Not Feeling it on Her Second Single “Secrets”

Jess Chalker, photo courtesy the artist

With her second single “Secrets,” Jess Chalker channels a bit of mid-80s synth pop but through a modern production lens and with a self-awareness reminiscent of Lower Dens. The electronic drums are straight out of 1985 as are the spare, clipped, clean guitar work and the bouncy dynamic and the declarations of forever love. But Chalker mixes those elements with a song structure more in line with songwriting from the current era with a moment of clarity mid-song. What this format helps to highlight is the way perhaps an 80s song, sounding shiny and upbeat, concealed an emotional nuance, complexity and ambivalence. Like you’re feeling everything at once and having to juggle it all and try to process it all with integrity. Chalker sings about how everyone has secrets but some act innocent while concealing a “monster in the back yard.” The brisk pace of the song and its bright melody reflects how these days you’re expected to put on a positive face despite dealing with a lot of stimulation and expectations even when you feel like you can’t–that we all have to maintain a secret in modern life or seem like failures, a state that feeds into one’s dark side on the regular. Listen to “Secrets” on Soundcloud, connect with Chalker on Spotify and look out for her LP due out late 2020.

Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.