Jeremy Parsons makes a welcome 2021 with “Things To Come”
Following the release of his dense masterwork Things I Need to Say, Jeremy Parsons makes a welcome 2021 return with Things To Come. The title makes sense, acting as a companion piece to his refreshingly honest last album, but could be read as a collective feeling towards the future in general right now. Parsons’ approach is to look forward by looking back. Sometimes very literally such as the case with a track literally titled “Looking Back.” In some ways, it’s a very blunt album. It’s looking the listener in the eye and asking to be vulnerable as seen in tracks like “Masquerade” where Parsons discusses feelings of imposter syndrome that one can’t help but maybe attribute to his continuing rising success.
Whatever the case may be, his particular vision of his work hasn’t been compromised as he still remains the sensitive soulful crooner. Death is also a present theme, showcased in tracks like “Tragedy” that begins with the senseless death of an unnamed woman, to the slow natural end we all face as seen on “Good Ole Days”, detailing the end of an older man we’re maybe left to assume was a family member to Parsons. While his lyrics remain honest and universal, you can’t help but feel a little distance from Parsons as he trades specificity in his perspective for a more general accessible outlook. It creates for an inoffensive listening experience, but it leaves one wanting just a little more personal insight into who Parsons is as a person.
The tracks are shorter, and the album as a whole is very consistent. It does sometimes falter in terms of covering subject matter a few too many times. You could maybe drop a track or two and it’d still maintain the same sense of potency and pathos. It’s not all heavy introspection however, Parsons also taps into his playful side with tracks like “Lillian” detailing a relationship with the titular woman, who appears to be a walking contradiction as described in lines like “She has a job she loves to hate but never quits” and that she’s an “on again off again” person, but surprisingly Parsons switches what could have been a one sided song about a woman he doesn’t understand into a look at himself, suggesting that he’s certain to someone else, he’s no different from Lillian.
Parsons also isn’t one to shy away from a little self-indulgence, not in his craft mind you, but in subject matter like the ultimate hang back “crack open a beer” song “Sit & Spin.” To its slight detriment, “Sit & Spin” might be the weakest of the ten tracks as while it is slickly produced and performed well enough to stand out from your traditional country fair, it’s a little too safe and conventional with a simplistic approach about “takin’ a load off with some beer and weed.” Again, it’s universal in its attempts, but when the album goes deeper beneath the surface, you wanna stay in that territory, but hopefully it’s more indicative of things to come after another impressive release by Parsons.