A decent album at least has a few good melodies; catchy riffs to hum while getting dressed, and later, to forget. A good album has that, but goes deep enough to engage your mind with more sophisticated symbolism and musicianship. The best albums can occupy the focus of a faux-scholarly poetry analysis as well as the backdrop of an evening with friends.
Jaywalker may just occupy the latter. With his myriad of influences, Joplin transcends the acoustic-poetic pop genre. He isn’t your dime-a-dozen four-chorder. Thematically, Jaywalker ebbs and flows. Refreshingly refined songs about love, careful enough to express emotion without drifting toward emo are followed by concise, subtle critiques of Christianity and consumer culture. Lyrically, Joplin accomplishes very much with little, and doesn’t come off as a distant rock star, but as an earthy, sentimental friend. His voice stays with you like an old companion as his verses meander through the streets of New York, the city he loves. This charmingly honest record has heart that is certainly not easy to find.