Search The Line of Best Fit
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Kara Jackson asks an impossible question so very beautifully with Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?

"Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?"

Release date: 14 April 2023
Kara Jackson - Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? - Artwork
14 April 2023, 00:00 Written by Amy Scadgell

Listening to Kara Jackson’s debut album Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? is like slipping into a dream, or a meditative state.

Jackson, America’s National Youth Poet Laureate from 2019-2020, explores romantic love and friendship with sparse guitar, subtle production, and unhurried vocals. It’s a delicate, gentle record, and if you ignored the title track you could possibly fall asleep to it (in a good way).

But the question Jackson poses with the title track – why do we form such viciously strong attachments knowing one day they must end? – is one that reverberates. Why Does the Earth? is dedicated to friendship, and the loss of it. Jackson’s friend Maya died from cancer in 2016, when they were both in high school. Surrounded by strings, the emotions build, Jackson’s words going from a generalised, relatable frustration at losing loved ones to details that cauterise with how intimate and specific they feel. “We were going to start a band/…Actualise our silly plans” she sings, her tone not seething towards the universe, but her lyrics speak volumes. Jackson’s feelings come through, throughout the album, more with what she says than how she says it. Her background in poetry shines, free from anything that could be dared to be called cliche or dull.

“If I had a heart / I’d know where to start,” she sings repeatedly on the brilliantly named “dickhead blues.” But it’s clear to me as I listen to this album, that her heart is so full, and she cares so much. “dickhead blues,” which opens with an amusing voicemail from a hopeless partner, sees her battle with self-worth. She contemplates romance on “no fun/party” (“Isn’t that just love, a will to destruct”), and there are flickers of humour with “therapy” (“Every man I meet thinks I’m his fucking mother.”) Her wordplay particularly glows on “pawnshop” – “What kind of miner does that make you? / When I'm the gold and you're just a fool” – which has the catchiest, busiest melody on the record, peppered with a drum beat that’ll get stuck in your head. The production is exquisite, but not heavy handed, from the steam engine-esque effect on “no fun/party” to a humming choir on “free.” Each song is a softly glowing gem.

With Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?, Jackson has presented herself as an open book, worries and questions spilling from her lips without censorship. It’s this honesty, in combination with the subtlety of the music that surrounds her words, that makes her debut album one that lingers. Where so many albums are frantic and breathless, Jackson has created something that allows you space to wonder and take a breath.

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