Jane Siberry: Review of her self-titled debut album/artistic genesis

Jane Siberry released her low-key self-titled debut in 1981. Here's a quick little review.

k.d. lang & Jane Siberry In Concert
k.d. lang & Jane Siberry In Concert / Chris McKay/GettyImages
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Some of us know her best from The Crow soundtrack, but Jane Siberry's self-titled debut album was released in 1981. Though it didn't make the hugest splash, it marked the beginning of Siberry's career as a singer-songwriter, showcasing her unique blend of folk, pop, and art-rock influences. The album was relatively low-key compared to some of her later work, but it laid the foundation for the distinctive style that would come to define her music. It includes neo-folk tracks such as "This Girl I Know" (with a catchy, playful, and slightly quirky vocal delivery) and "In The Blue Light," which may not be some of Siberry's signature songs, but may stand out on this particular album.

Perhaps the most interesting question here is how one might classify this album genre-wise. A writer for Medium makes the case that Siberry fits into the "art-rock" genre, noting how that is typically defined: “Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.”

Final thoughts on Jane Siberry's Jane Siberry

On this album, her ethereal vocals and poetic lyrics set her apart from some other artists of the time. The album received positive reviews for its originality and Siberry's emotive performances. Over the years, Jane Siberry has continued to evolve as an artist, experimenting with different genres and collaborating with various musicians. While her debut album may not have achieved mainstream success, it is considered a significant starting point in her career and a glimpse into the artistic vision that would shape her subsequent releases, and she would develop her signature style in the ensuing years.

As suggested earlier, "This Girl I Know" and "In The Blue Light" were the tracks that stoof out most for me as being somewhat memorable. Though this album didn't fully grab me and leave me enamored, it has songs that might "grow on" a person. I doubt most people would find anything particularly bad here, even if they don't fall in love with these sounds. At the very least, I respect the fact she wrote all of these songs and played many of the instruments. That knowledge tends to improve any album, at least in my book.

In more recent years, she has stopped (or at least slowed down on) creating new albums and doesn't tour conventionally. In other words, she knows what she wants and is successful enough to mostly do things her way. This album perhaps reflects some of that independent spirit, as it doesn't seem like she was trying too hard, but just making music. Some people tend to prefer earlier material if it's rawer and less tainted by the music industry, and if you are one of those people, Jane Siberry (the album) may deserve a listen.

Quick facts

  • The album does not appear to contain a chart hit, at least in the United States.
  • On the bright side, neither Jane nor her record label appear ashamed of the album, as it was re-released on CD in 1994 and is available on streaming services virtually everywhere.
  • Her next album, No Borders Here, proved to be more successful, featuring the hit, "Mimi on the Beach."

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