Jay Som’s “Everybody Works” Creates a Dreamy Illusion

The perfect setting for yearning yet spacey vocals.

Jay Som
Everybody Works

Courtesy of Polyvinyl

From Paul McCartney and Todd Rundgren in the ’70s to Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker today, plenty of ingenious control freaks have impersonated a full band in the studio through endless, obsessive overdubbing, but the end product can feel stiff and claustrophobic. Though Oakland’s Melina Duterte, aka Jay Som, is just in her early 20s, she’s already mastered—and even improved on—the process with her winning second album, supplying everything except a few backing voices to create the illusion of a surprisingly vibrant real-life group. These beautiful, dreamy pop tunes offer the perfect setting for her yearning yet spacey vocals, which balance urgent desire and hesitant vulnerability. “I like the way your lipstick stains/The corner of my smile,” she murmurs at one point, later sighing, “You’re really good at embarrassing me/You poke at flaws everybody can see.” Everybody Works is a fully realized triumph that inspires hope for even cooler things to come. No pressure, of course.

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