It’s never easy trying to articulate how you feel inside, especially when you’re doing it on a public platform. Aside from it taking an enormous amount of courage to be so open, it places a great vulnerability upon anyone, let alone an artist trying to survive in this world. A popular way to somewhat sidestep this is through creative lyricism. That is exactly what New York based artist Cassandra Jenkins has done with her new track, “Michelangelo.”
In line with the melancholy lyrics, the song begins in a style which is simple yet impactful. With Jenkins’ voice taking up the full frontstage, shimmering in effects, a slightly hot electric guitar chugs along in time. Holding everything together is a very subtle drone in the background which serves as a string which the rest of the song clings to. Of course, the song does not continue to be stripped down for much longer, as the bass and drums join in after about a minute. As the instruments all come together, Jenkins’ voice tends to get drowned out at points, making her a little difficult to fully understand. Half-way through the song, a burst of energy lights the track up as we are treated to a lovely guitar solo which is drenched in fuzz, moving back and forth between the speakers. Slowly simmering down, the guitar solo fades to an end and the previous vibe of the track returns.
Looking towards the lyrics and meaning of the song, we can observe someone in the midst of introspection. To me, the song seems to be a reflection on one’s inner self, especially with lines such as, “I’m a three-legged dog / Working with what I got / And part of me will always be / Looking for what I lost.” While it is clear that Jenkins is content with her current situation, and is dealing with it, there is still a sense of longing for the past. Further commenting on herself, Jenkins sings, “I’m Michelangelo / I carve myself out of marble / When I don’t know how to grow flowers.” Of course, referring to the famous artist Michelangelo, who was known for his sculptures, it seems that Jenkins is comparing herself with him to show how skillfully she is at sculpting her image to others. When she can’t grow her flowers, meaning when she can’t find her happiness, she can carve her image out of the cold stone of marble.
Overall the song skillfully combines that stripped down, emotional sound with impactful lyrics, which ties the theme of everything together nicely. Although at points the lyrics become difficult to understand due to the mixing of the instruments, I wouldn’t hold the song at fault for it as it only adds character and strengthens the emotion of the delivery. The writing itself is really nice and leans towards the side of listener-interpretation, while not being too obscure. By inviting the listener to dig into the words, a sense of investment may come across, which can only be a good thing. After listening to the song numerous times, I can safely say that I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something fresh in the alternative genre.