Christina Perri

I don’t listen to music anymore, and the only real exposure I have to it is what I accidentally hear on store radios or on my car radio while I’m swapping around CDs. (Someday, I’ll outline the process by which I’m forced to listen to podcasts by burning them to CDs.)

So when I heard a song that grabbed my attention in the car a week back, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think to pull out my iPhone and use the Shazam app to identify it at the time. Silly me thought that just maybe the radio station would backtrack and tell me who sang it after it was done. No, they don’t do that anymore. I could have looked up the lyrics on-line, but by the time that thought came to me, I had forgotten the lyrics.

But then I heard the song again on the radio last night and instantly grabbed the cell phone and started up Shazam. (The newest update is amazing — takes half the time to identify a song, if that.)

The song is “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. I imagine it’s getting a lot of airplay these days.

Never heard of her before this. Turns out, there’s a good reason for that. She’s recording her first album now. This is her sole single. When I went to iTunes, I had a choice of downloading that single or an EP made up of five songs performed live. I downloaded the EP instantly.

And I like it. I like it a whole lot. While the single isn’t easily confused with the other songs, it also isn’t completely unlike the other songs. Too many artists have hit singles that work well on their own but sound absolutely nothing like the rest of the album. I suspect that’s the hand of the record company at work there, picking the “hit” song from an album or forcing a hit song onto the album where it doesn’t belong. And, really, don’t we ALL like to villify record companies at any chance?

But she has a great voice — it’s gravelly and forceful and powerful, while still capable of being more tender and soft. She can span the two in the same song. And it’s consistent throughout. Sure, it doesn’t quite hit and hold all the notes as in the radio version of “Jar of Hearts,” but she comes close enough. There’s some tricky vocal parts of that song after all. But I do think the best parts of her songs come in the power parts.

If you can only download one other song besides “Jar of Hearts,” I’d go with “Bang Bang Bang,” which really swings.

In some ways, she reminds me of a little more powerful version of Nellie McKay, though played a little straighter and stronger .

Plus, she’s a piano player, which I’m always partial to.

So count me in as a fan. Download all her stuff. Look forward to the album. Follow her on Twitter. Check out her website. And her Tumblr page.

I’ll put her on my bucket list of musicians I’d like to photograph someday, but that’s a post for ;-)

Now, here’s the punchline: I wrote all this up, then went to the web to get more links, details, etc. It turns out I had heard and loved this song back in JULY! Perri was on “So You Think You Can Dance.” I liked the song back then and even think I remember looking her up on-line, but not finding much. Seven months later, here we are. Crazy world, eh? And it looks like SYTYCD was her big break. I remember that performance, too. Sheesh

I just wish I was blogging SYTYCD regularly this past summer, so I could really laugh at myself for forgetting her. The crazier thing: I didn’t hear the song for six months after it hit the Billboard charts, then I hear it twice in a week? Weird.

Here’s the SYTYCD performance. Embedding of the video isn’t allowed, so you’ll have to click through the link. Ugh.

So here’s the video for Jar of Hearts instead:

Note at least one SYTCD dancer in there, and it appears to have been choreographed by Stacey Tookey of SYTYCD, too.

So, yeah, now I’m caught up on the hot music scene of Summer 2010.