Jason Bajada Makes Me Want to Escape to Canada
By Charissa Zeigler
Jason Bajada is a Canadian folk musician who channels Sufjan Stevens’ quiet lyricism in “Carrie and Lowell” and Elliot Smith’s despair. His new album, “Crushed Grapes” released in September 2022 evokes ennui between violins and soft percussion.
In “Walt Disney,” Bajada leaves his Montreal home, to take a winding drive in LA’s sunset boulevard. The sun is just beginning to rise, from the “definitely darker times” of a failed relationship. Even so, he’s got his best friend by his side, which maybe makes up for the messy breakup of the previous year evidenced by the first track “Snake,” a reference to an ex.
With well-crafted songs at the start, I was a little disappointed by the ending title track “Crushed Grapes.” The title comes from John Fante’s novel Ask The Dust in which a destitute 1930s depression-era writer is desperate for the love of a woman whose eyes are described as those of ‘crushed grapes.’ The song’s lively percussion was juxtaposed with its themes and I found it hard to fit into the rest of Bajada’s sad boi era songs. Yet when the album finished, I found I wasn’t ready to leave Bajada’s house of melancholy.
I’m looking forward to checking out his other songs, especially the ones he sings in French. Bajada’s songs are grounded in their locales. They are gentle even as they sing about disappointment and anger. I feel lucky that I was introduced to this artist while volunteering for KZSC’s music processing.
While Bajada captures the feels of Brooklyn and LA in his latest album, I couldn’t help but want to flee to his native Canada while listening to the album. Maybe some lucky day I’ll get to listen to these songs while batting my boots against a snow bank on a wintry Quebecoise street.
Nault, Sarah-Emilie. “Crushed Grapes: un nouvel opus solitaire et rassembleur pour Jason Bajada.” Le Journal de Montreal, 25 September 2022, https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2022/09/25/solitaire-et-rassembleur