(Community Radio Tapes)
Today, we’re excited to premiere the newest album from Connecticut-based singer-songwriter LIT. MAJOR, Generosity.
The third album released under the LIT. MAJOR moniker, Generosity is pitched simply as “an album of new songs written & recorded in isolation during the spring of 2020”, which might seem innocuous enough if you were reading this 10 years from now. Having recently lived through whatever the hell the spring of 2020 was, however, this roughly translates to “quarantine album”. In a sense, all albums coming out now are quarantine albums, though we can rather easily sort out what happens to be released now from what has been deeply characterized and formed by the fear, depression, regret, frustration, and loneliness the circumstances of the world today have created in some and amplified in many others. Generosity is an example of the latter: a set of stark folk pop with focuses on self-reflection, the sad realities of the world we live in, and the points of intersection between the two.
The album’s opening title track introduces the listener to the slow burn approach of LIT. MAJOR, as well as the subtle yet peculiar blend of intimacy and theatrics he frequently delivers on Generosity. The song addresses a search for the titular generosity amidst all the reasons to “stay down” during a bout of insomnia implied to either be instigated or made worse by his brain’s inability to stop churning on the bad, looking for even the smallest positive distractions such as TV or podcasts to fend off hopelessness. There are threads throughout Generosity that suggest LIT. MAJOR holds views akin to optimistic existential nihilism, where he hasn’t found ‘meaning’ and isn’t particularly confident he ever will, but still actively seeks it out or tries to craft it for himself, and this track is one of those stronger threads. The composition is sparse and eased gently along by acoustic guitar, while LIT. MAJOR’s vocals do a lot of heavy lifting in defining his sound, with clarity and strength of his voice and vibrato sounding near Disney prince musical-like while tonally carrying a weariness that those characters would never hit upon.
“Mothers”, meanwhile, is one of a small handful of tracks that looks back, seemingly referring to a childhood boyfriend and an acceptance of sexuality. There are some striking swells that intermittently pop up in what is again a largely subdued and skeletal composition, but that minimalism highlights the impact of those moments. Another track laden with bitter nostalgia is perhaps the strongest on the record: “Tough One”. Featuring banjo by Luke Janke (who also contributes to “Beth”, one of the more brightly toned and animated pieces) and ‘atmospheres’ by Daniel Bernas, “Tough One” is both one of the most full-sounding songs on the record as well as its most heartbreaking, recalling an instance in which a friend at “Seven or eight / Maybe we were nine” confided in him about abuse. When he eventually told and it got out, his friend said they lied, but he still wonders (“But I fear you told the truth / I think of you, and of him sometimes / And I wonder what he might be getting up to”).
There’s a lot of sad singer-songwriter music being passed around right now, perhaps more than ever, but Generosity does well differentiating itself due to how plain spoken and naked its presentation is in a sea of similar content that struggles to reach similar levels of honestly, and a voice that just hits the ears better than most others. If you’re looking for vulnerable folk music to help spur on your own episode of existential self-reflection, this one is definitely a good pick.
You can listen to LIT. MAJOR’s Generosity below:
Lyric video for “The Weather Here”:
Favorite tracks: “Mothers”, “Tough One”
LIT. MAJOR’s ‘Generosity’ is out tomorrow, July 3rd, on Community Radio Tapes and is available to pre-order now digital and cassette. You can follow LIT. MAJOR on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with his work.