Castle on a cloud | The Coast Halifax

Castle on a cloud

With songs that are both tense and soothing, the contentedly sorrowful Jennifer Castle comes to Halifax.

Castle on a cloud
Eva Michon
“I pledge allegiance to no one or nothing” when writing, says Castle.

What makes a really sad song so wonderful? Why does it feel so fantastic to just bum yourself out sometimes? Toronto's Jennifer Castle has apparently figured out how to channel the contently sorrowful spirit of Roy Orbison and puts it on full display in her latest release, Pink City.

The record comes off as an effortless exploration of gloom and a mindful frankness, with songs that utter evocative truths like "No family. No universe. No holy god. No mother earth." If that is not one of the most soul-crushing strings of lyrics you have ever heard, then please send me your mp3s. But maybe that isn't quite how Castle envisions it. Maybe she isn't the nihilist we imagine her as.

"When I'm writing, from the beginning, I've always maintained that I pledge allegiance to no one or nothing and instead wander through the possibilities of situations and experience the freedom of the spirit instead of the gravity of the body. I'm free and omniscient when I write," she says. "Mostly I'm in a mood of sorts and need to accomplish two things: Write brutally honestly about what I'm feeling and comfort myself at the same time, so they tend to end up both tense and soothing in that way."

It could be that specific tension, or maybe even contradiction, that makes certain sad songs so perfect and gripping. They serve similar purposes for both artist and audience. They are confrontational to contentment. They comfort us with the thought that everyone feels bummed sometimes, and still shake us alive with that same realization.

Jennifer Castle w/Dance Movie, Dark for Dark
Thursday, April 2, 9pm
The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street