Analogue Music | Sarah Jaffe - This Is Better, Pt. 1 & 2
This Is Better, Pt. 1 & 2

This Is Better, Pt. 1 & 2

Artist: Sarah Jaffe · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

26 July, 2019


Kirtland Records

"I keep moving. I can't stop."

It's hard to tell whether Sarah Jaffe is informing us or convincing herself. Perhaps both are true.

Jaffe has been crafting imaginative indie pop songs for years, armed now with a catalog that has slowly yet splendidly shifted from organic to synthetic. Jaffe's latest releases, two new EPs titled This is Better, Vol 1 & 2, fully inhabit the latter—experimental synth-heavy tracks utilizing knobs and nuance.

Jaffe's latest songs came from songwriting sessions with fellow Dallas resident Aaron Kelley. The producer had worked with Jaffe on music for the 2018 film Never Goin' Back, and the pairing yielded a creative energy that helped Jaffe find her sonic way forward. The songs became vehicles to work through some darker personal experiences and feelings, hence the melodic atmosphere on these seven tracks.

The propulsive "Blame" lays down a killer groove that will have you carving out time for a long, lonesome night drive with the windows down. "Dark Energy" slows down ever so slightly in order to combat the negative thoughts that plague her. "Dark energy stay away from me," she sings. "I wanna be good to myself."

The themes of self-empowerment continue on several songs, from "Shift" on Vol. 2 to "Lay Low (Take Care") on Vol. 1. "Gonna get my shit together," she sings on the latter, a proposition that might sound silly in print but works brilliantly in Jaffe's musical hands. These songs are hopeful declarations of an artist at a personal intersection. This Is Better is likely the same, a decree stating these described ways of living are the right ways to live.

When Jaffe sings, "I keep moving. I can't stop" on "Shift," it's impossible to tell whether she's musically coaching herself up—songs of self-betterment, perhaps— or explaining the creative burst that came with Kelley alongside her. Either way, it works wonders for the audience. No one wants to see her stop, so if it takes some inner drive or collaborative sessions, the audience just wants more.