Me being totally heads over heels for Tracy Bonham has nothing to do with her making my Favorites of 2017. In fact I’m probably harder on her and her music then I am with most just because of how much her music has meant to me over the past twenty years. Her first two releases, The Burden of Being Upright and Down Here, were albums that I listened to more times then I could ever count. There was something about her voice, her attitude, her lyrics, her musical ability, and the tenor of the songs that really spoke to me. Her style changed slightly for her third album Blink the Brightest and the result was one of my favorite albums of the 2000s. Unfortunately her next two releases didn’t resonate with me the way Blink did. It made me sad. We all grow up. Artists want to grow and change. I want to always like the artists I’ve always liked and expect them to cater to my needs. That is never the case.

I was pretty ecstatic to hear that Tracy was doing an update of her first album called Modern Burdens. While I displayed enthusiasm for the project, I was really crossing all of my fingers. The Burden of Being Upright is a classic. It is truly one of the albums of the 90s. Again – I listened to the album countless times and can probably sing most songs verbatim (though I’ll readily admit that when you hear me sing the songs you may start trying to pelt me with rocks).

So I was quite nervous to listen to Modern Burdens for the first time. A bit of trepidation like when you are about to skydive and you are looking out the door thinking to yourself, “I know everything will be fine but…maybe I should just sit my ass back in the seat.” Jumping out of that plane and enjoying Modern Burdens was a very wise decision. The album is a wonderful re-imagining of a classic that never takes away from the original. There were songs that I thought were better on Being Upright and there were songs that I thought were redone beautifully on Modern Burdens.

The experience is euphoric from beginning to end. The thing about the album is it gets better and better with each and every listen. This is pretty much on par with my feelings on Tracy’s first three albums. With each and every listen you find something new to love and enjoy. It’s a musical Easter egg for your ears that never brings disappointment. There’s a plethora of guests to helped Tracy on this journey (Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses / Belly, Sadie DuPuis of Speedy Ortiz / Sad13, Rachael Yamagata, Katherine Calder of New Pornographers, Angie Hart of Frente, Kay Hanley of Letters To Cleo, and Nicole Atkins), but for the most part the album is all Tracy. She’s baring her soul once again but in an entirely different way then she did with the original Being Upright album. You feel the more mature approach to the original material but never roll your eyes and ask yourself, “Why?” I just listen to Modern Burdens and think to myself, “Tracey, you’ve done a magnificent job.”

Modern Burdens has allowed me to fall in love with her all over again. It almost feels like an end point though. Like Tracy has come full circle in her music career as she has created perfect bookends. I certainly hope this is not the case. I hope Tracy continues making music for many years to come. And me? I’ll keep listening. Next on my list…snagging that Modern Burdens vinyl.

P.S. – Tracy…if you are out there…bring Blink back to Spotify. I’m sad that it is gone as it always got me through some tough work days.

Read 2G1’s Review of Modern Burdens:

2G1’s Top 10 of 2017:

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