Canadian indie singer/songwriter Jordan Klassen has announced he will be releasing his latest album Tell Me What To Do on May 22nd. We’ve heard a few songs from the album already with “Virtuous Circle,” “Surprised / Not Surprised,” “Indentivacation,” “I Want To Move In To Your House” and some others on YouTube and Spotify. The rest of the album I’m really looking forward to hearing considering Jordan has become one of my favorite songwriters. Each album he changes things up and expands his sound.
You can pre-order the album right here.
The album press release from Kill Beat Music:
When it comes to forming our own personal identities, the wide-open expanse of possibilities for each of us is supposed to be empowering. There’s dizzying potential for defining oneself, especially for marginalized individuals, and in comparison to previous generations. But what is a person to do if the infinitely-expanding universe makes them feel not free and bold, but rather powerless, afraid, and small? To stand in the face of such choice may be difficult, but with his latest release, Tell Me What To Do, Jordan Klassen shows us that doing nothing isn’t an option. A perfect companion to his last record, Big Intruder, which was about growing up, Tell Me What to Do is about finding a home and an identity when many aspects of existence feel tenuous.
Ironically, with Klassen’s new release, Tell Me What To Do, no one told him what to do. This results in an album conceived and written independently, without artifice or pretension. Although recorded in the midst of potentially crippling professional challenges, with this album Klassen embraced his inner muse. He took full creative control, leading to musical stories that are true, unadulterated expressions of his own search for identity in a transient world.
“I spent a lot of my youth asserting myself, drawing a circle around who I was and daring people to enter,” says Klassen. “Maybe that’s a necessary part of life, to go through a phase of marking the territory of your own identity. Maybe it’s the sign of our times, I’m not sure. Over the last few years I’ve found that my orientation has changed significantly, though. I’m less and less interested in self-discovery and more and more interested in the world around me, systems and relationships and history and where I’ve landed in those ever-shifting sands. While I was writing this record I was feeling that groan a lot; ‘Tell Me What To Do’. It was emphasized by my circumstances. Many of the towers that I’d built a refuge of identity in were burning to the ground. Many of the relationships that made me feel safe had begun to feel unsafe. For the first time since 2011 I made a record 100% independently, and I did it trying to remember why I started writing songs in the first place. I didn’t want to look over my shoulder anymore. Tell Me What To Do is a bit of a paradox because on the one hand I’m begging for something outside of me to inform my identity. On the other hand I forged a path that feels more like me than any I have before.”
On Tell Me What To Do, Klassen doesn’t just want to make unsettling, thought-provoking music. Each of his songs also contain a deep wish to connect authentically with others; he wants to make music to help people feel less alone. These are songs that accompany you as you jump out into the terrifying, unknowable void. This is definitely the case with the record’s lead single “Virtuous Circle”. As Klassen says, “the song is a plea of hope that what feels like a vicious circle could invert into a virtuous one”.
The stunning video for “Virtuous Circle” was recently included in the Prism Prize Top 20 and nominated for a UKMVA for Best Alternative Video – International. Directed by Farhad Ghaderi and produced by Shelby Manton of Boldly, explores the joys and pains of brotherhood through the volatile relationship between a young boy (Ben Andrusco-Daon) and his self-destructive older brother (Antoine Olivier Pilon) in the pursuit of winning a famous regional long-distance race.
Tell Me What To Do is a wonderfully diverse album, gliding seamlessly between tracks from one of Klassen’s distinctive musical styles to another. “Identivacation” transitions from solemn, determined vocals, layered around playful electronic bleeps and bloops. On “A Letter to Jesse Boy”, we are treated to Klassen’s single-sourced trembling voice. In “Surprised / Not Surprised”, Klassen imagines a dialogue with an unforgiving superego figure, who is critical and exacting. This figure does not comfort or coddle. Instead, on bad days, its voice is the one you hear as you gaze into your own fault-finding reflection in a mirror, and the one that prevents you from drifting into a peaceful sleep at night. “Ministry of Doubt”, with its orchestral beginning, is a hymn reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence”. A song that reminds us that loneliness is an inescapable element of the human experience seems especially relevant in this time of self-isolation and social distancing… prophetic even.
In “I Want to Move into Your House”, Klassen seems to assume the persona of a classical musician from a previous century, with a lullaby-like melody that evokes memories and emotions, and seems to celebrate a golden age of the past. The haunting “Golden Ladder” has waves of sound that ebb and flow, surrounding and comforting the listener, until we are invited to shake off our melancholy and join the dance, before we are swept to a post-modern, techno version of a baroque piece. All this together in one record is nothing short of musical brilliance.
Klassen is an internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter from Vancouver. He has toured extensively worldwide during his 9 year career throughout Europe, Korea, Australia, Canada and the US. Known for his well-crafted arrangements and nuanced songwriting, his sound is often compared to the likes of Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, and Nick Drake.
From there he has steadily built his fanbase by opening for well-established artists such as Rhye, Lindi Ortega, Husky, Silversun Pickups, Whitney, Pickwick, and Ethan Johns and by garnering a significant radioplay and licensing history. His career has shifted seamlessly into the streaming world with almost 12 million streams worldwide to date.
TELL ME WHAT TO DO TRACKLIST
01 Loss For Words
02 Ministry Of Doubt
03 Arrive With You
04 Virtuous Circle
05 Surprised / Not Surprised
06 I Want To Move Into Your House
07 Tell Me What To Do
08 None Of My Answers
10 A Letter To Jesse Boy
11 St. Cecilia
12 Golden Ladder