Jolie Holland — Springtime Can Kill You In 1922, T.S. Eliot famously told us, “April is the cruelest month.” In 2006, singer songwriter Jolie Holland tells us “Springtime Can Kill You.” Why are they so down on this time of year? The weather’s warmer, the flowers are blooming and love is in the air. It’s probably that last bit that Eliot and Holland are most concerned with—because if love is in the air, heartbreak is right around the corner. At least that seems to be the general theme of Springtime Can Kill You (Anti-), Holland’s third album, which will hit stores on May 9th. In these songs, falling in love isn’t something to be celebrated; it’s an unwanted affliction. “Look what you’ve done to me,” she sings accusingly to the object of her affections in “Crush In The Ghetto,” the album’s opening track. Sure, Holland sounds love struck (“I’m flirting with the birds, I’m talking to the weeds”), and the achingly pretty, jazzy breeze of the music urges her on. But the subsequent songs on the album make it clear that this feeling is nothing if not fleeting. The album is packed with tales of longing lovers, bitter breakups and high, lonesome blues.
That Springtime Can Kill You is such a joy to listen to, despite its fatalistic view of matters of the heart, is Holland’s real triumph. She’s got a real knack for classic-but-not-derivative melodies that stick in your head for days on end, and her fluttering, smoky vocals remain breathtakingly beautiful. The musicians Holland’s collected to support her provide a perfect backdrop for her melancholy musings. In particular, guitarist Brian Miller shines here—his delicate, deeply emotional solo on the long, loose “Nothing Left To Do But Dream” seems to summon up a lifetime’s worth of bittersweet memories.
The title track is available for download right here.