MusicDish e-Journal - March 21, 2018
MusicDish Advertising Network
Search MusicDish e-Journal (Advanced)
Subscribe To MusicDish e-Journal
About | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Submit Article | Submit News | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution
Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network

Karen Ires
Pets Allowed Music
By Mark Kirby
(more articles from this author)
Comment | Email | Print | RSS

Artist: Karen Ires (
Title: Karen Ires
Label: Pets Allowed Music

Acting class teaches the creation of character through imagination. You ask questions like, "What if?" and "Then what?" Use of the imagination, informed with lived experience, both in the first person and in listening to others (including unsolicited eavesdropping), helps to flesh out answers that you recreate live, i.e., act out. The same thing happens elsewhere in life. I use this imagination game myself when I'm stuck with the boring and the mundane. Shopping in a grocery store, waiting for food in a rest stop, riding the subway. It's fun and a good way to pass the time. Singer/songwriter Karen Ires performs a musical variation of this mind game on her new, self titled record.

Her sense of character and bizarre narrative could make her a great short story writer. She takes you to worlds not your own, worlds barely dreamed of. Strange characters. Adventure. Intersecting the lives of the weird, getting caught up in them, and at the same time, hovering overhead and chronicling the whole thing, witnessing, as in a dream, where you are both the I and the not-I, the eye and the other. One has to envision her sitting around sizing people up as they walk by, and creating a whole story based on their look, their expression, they way they walk. Or she takes a half-heard scrap of conversation and fills in all the blanks, thus, creating these intimate, arresting songs. No doubt much of her material has its genesis in personal experience. Where her life story ends and fiction begins is blurred because of the way her songs are written and come off. This is especially true of the song "EvryLstHwy." Another obsessive song of the modern day preoccupation of the "other," and what they have, as you intersect, dropped in the middle of their play; the protagonist sees her and wants what she seems to have, and then we, the listeners, are swept forward to see a future of her sad end, an inevitable end.

The album's opener, "One Closed Eye," is more indicative of the murkiness of Karen Ires's musical world. It's beautiful song, with simple strummed chords supporting and augmenting her voice. What's it about? A lack of awareness on the part of someone? "Out of all the pretty suns in the sky, How many lights can you see with one closed eye?"And how this lack has a smothering effect - "I can't sleep, I can't smoke, 'cause I can't breathe . . . "I'm walking to the back of your regard."And definitely denial. "I really don't mind if you fake it." Maybe I'm dense, but I find the narrative oblique, impenetrable. Like poetry. This is part of what makes her so good. With other singer/writers I've listened to recently - Gabriel Gordon, Jennifer Marks, Clyde Wrenn - I've been able to make a good deal of sense of what they were saying (though they are no less poetic than Karen). But with her songs it's different. Most of them give me the same feelings of vague awareness that certain rock and soul songs used to give me when I was a kid: you knew something intense was going on, even if you couldn't put your finger on it, because you were too young to know. Not unlike reading Jack Kerouac or William Burroughs.

Take the song "Star." At first I thought it was a song about the arc of a relationship with a person of charismatic starlike qualities, at least in the singer's eyes. The star is possibly a real movie or rock star: "I could tell you were a star before I saw you in the dark." This implies that it could be some sort of obsession involving projected fantasies. But then the line "I can be in two places at once, isn't that why you chose me?" made the singer and the star's relationship more intimate, so I decided it's not a dark tale of obsession (maybe I watch too much T.V.). Just an ordinary relationship that ain't working out. "Don't you want this anymore, don't you want this baby?" This is backed up the line "He's just some boy I used to know, just some girl who had a brother's friend and I just happened to be there. I didn't know to hesitate . . ." Yep, I got it, the song is about some local bad boy that the singer loves. "You drink you smoke you lush cause you have nothing left to prove." You see? There are a lot of potential conniptions to go through. That's what makes her songs cool. Of course, the songs sound so good and the emotions come through so clearly, that you can just hum along while you sort your laundry, lie in bed with the sheet pulled up to your neck, as you gaze out your bedroom window at the sunny day, while having idle sex fantasies . . . but enough about me.

Yes, one could enjoy the songs on the light listening level, but where's the fun in that? You miss so much. For instance, "Nadine" is a road movie. A lover's obsession becoming total as Nadine runs off with a boy and takes everything that belongs to the soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. Memory is evoked by Elvis on the radio, and a sense of doom, but the runaway characters just keep cruising. "Say goodbye to my lover and me." They appear to be headed for a bad end, but, for now, they're only driving. This is not, no matter how it sounds, about my next to last girl friend and our road trip. Sweet, naive youth. But anyway . . .

"Hotel Room" is a new version of the classic film "An Unmarried Woman," about a person whose life has been pulled out from under her like a rug. "I want a divorce." Or something like that. All the vulnerability comes up and pushes you out the door, your skids greased via your being abused by someone close. Someone who knows you all too well, knows the chinks in your armor that can only be found by stroking your naked body in the middle of countless nights. Someone saving it all up for the time when they cut you to a fare thee well. How could Karen Ires possibly know about me and my other last girlfriend? The rustle at the door, the clicking noises on the phone. It was her, doing research, no doubt. Yes, I was the unmarried woman.

The songs go on like this for the rest of the album. "Faithless" is the moment a couple realizes they lost something. "Crush" is like "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," by Burt Bacharach, but cooler, more intimate. You can hang out with Karen's voice, with the pretty melodies, and talk while eating a caesar salad, like the table next to me when I saw her perform at the Sidewalk Café in March. But if you sit with these songs, they grow close to you. A little too close. Maybe I'm wrong about these songs and what they mean. I meant to ask Karen myself, but why spoil the fun? She probably wouldn't answer anyway. That's half the fun of music, or any art form, for that matter: you create your own meaning. Just like that dude who thought Jimi Hendrix was saying "Excuse me, while I kiss this guy," in "Purple Haze."

Watching the movie "American Beauty" for the third time, I found myself humming one of her tunes during the closing credits, right after Kevin Spacey's disembodied, voice-from-beyond says, "I should be pissed off about what happened to me (being murdered), but there's just so much beauty in the world . . . I relax and let it flow through me." I think the song was "One Closed Eye." Or maybe it was "Note." Get the album for yourself and see. Go to and go for it. It's money well spent. Your friends will think you're cool, your girlfriend will know you're deep and sensitive behind that steely exterior, and - the horror, the horror - you'll see and learn something of yourself. And if you're really young and inexperienced reading this - don't worry, you'll get there soon enough.

Home » Open Review » Karen Ires
Email |Print |Comment |RSS

back | top

MusicDish Advertising Network

Open Review

» MusicDish Review: Kenn Rowell Music Video "It's Good To Be Back"

» MusicDish Music Video Review: "CPR (Start Again)" by Metaract

» Rapper Produkt Releases Inspiring Music Video For His Single "Daddy Was A Dope Boy"

» Kylie Marcus Combines Of Funk And R&B With "Yellow Shirt"

» Searching For Sugar Man: Story Of A Forgotten Prodigy

Open Review Directory

» [2018-03-09] Round Hill Music And Zync Sign Madge To Joint Venture; JV Publishing Venture To Support And Expand Zync's Successful Rights Representation Business

» [2018-03-03] PPL And PRS For Music Launch Licensing Joint Venture; Licensing Of Music Played In Public Now Administered By New Leicester-based Joint Venture, PPL PRS Ltd

» [2018-02-27] Music Festivals And Conferences Pledge To Tackle Gender Inequality; Keychange Initiative Encourages Gender Balance In Music By End Of 2022

» [2018-02-21] Briony Turner And Alec Boateng Promoted To Co-Heads Of A&R, Atlantic Records UK; Turner And Boateng Will Oversee The Atlantic A&R Team, Joint Projects, As Well As Maintaining Their Own Artist Rosters

» [2018-02-21] ICE And Facebook Reach Multi-Territory Music Licensing Agreement; New Deal Will See Songwriters And Composers Remunerated

» [2018-02-20] B-Reel Named Top 10 Most Innovative Company In Music By Fast Company; Global Creative Agency Receives Honor For Its Award-Winning Gorillaz Campaign

» [2018-02-18] YG PLUS And Gracenote To Bring K-POP To Fans Around The World; Gracenote And YG PLUS To Make All K-POP Music More Searchable And Discoverable On Global And Regional Streaming Music Platforms And Services

» [2018-02-17] VNUE Inc. To Acquire Music Rights Startup Soundstr; VNUE Acquisition Aims To Ensure A Fairer Royalty System

» [2018-02-17] Is Podcasting The New Radio?; 25% Of Surveyed Americans Say They've Listened To A Podcast In The Past Month, Up From Less Than 10% In 2008

» [2018-02-01] Insomniac Announces Inaugural Electric Daisy Carnival China Set To Debut In Shanghai; China Marks EDC's Second Location On The Asian Continent

» [2018-02-01] Viberate & Imogen Heap Strive To Give Equal Opportunity To Every Artist; Heap's Main Role In Viberate's Advisory Team Will Be To Help Further Guide Us Toward A Second To None Service For The Live Music Segment

» [2018-01-22] Italian Independent Music Collective Fil1993 Group Signs With MusicDish*China; MusicDish*China Will Be Developing Their Online Presence And Social Media In China As Well As Releasing Their Catalogue To Chinese Streaming Music Services
MusicDish Advertising Network

follow MusicDish on
Follow MusicDish on Twitter

Mi2N Music PR

Recording Artist Tiffani LeBlanc Reigns As The #PartyPrincess With New Track "Let's Party"

Hybrid Studios Hosts Annual NAMM Afterparty

High Definition Music Card - The New Way To Experience Music!

DEATH BY MISADVENTURE, New True Mystery Podcast Launches 31st January 2018

Music And Kids Joins Forces With Carnie Wilson, With Plans To Provide One-on-One After-School Music Education To Thousands Of Middle And High School Students

Don Dawil's Valentine's Day Debut Latin Single "Necesito Verte"

Taking Applications - The 23rd Annual USA Songwriting Competition

Websites: Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network
Services: Submit Article | Submit News | Submit Video | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution

Copyright © 1997-2018 MusicDish LLC., all rights reserved.
About MusicDish e-Journal | Contact Us | Advertise | RSS | Internships