Not to be confused with Jackson Scott, the gay pornstar, nor Jackson Scott, the London-based Flamenco Singer-Songwriter, the Jackson Scott we’re talking about is a 22-year old college drop-out from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who successfully found musical inspiration and comfort in the cozy college town of Asheville, North Carolina. He’s made cassette-quality rock music since high school. Ever since the release of his debut album, Melbourne, in 2013, he’s become more popular these past couple of years. People are catching on to his lo-fi rock. He recently released “Pacify,” a single off his upcoming album, Sunshine Redux. He describes his newest project as “veering from nihilistic punk rock explosions to gentle sonic nightmares.” His music is messy. It befits what he often muses in: the existential conundrums of human life. In order to communicate these complex ideas, he strains his voice to the point where he sounds almost alien. It works well.
“Sandy” is my favorite song of his so far.
At first, I felt this song belonged in an American Apparel commercial. You know the ones–showcasing a band of hip, good-looking, 24-year olds in their underwear, laughing and tumbling over some King-sized bed–together, in a mostly empty apartment or house looking drunk. And I wasn’t the only one who thought that. The official music video for “Sandy” looks just like an American Apparel commercial. There’s no question director, Tyler Floro, was going for that “young and restless, free-spirited look.” But the song has nothing to do with alcohol or house parties. When I looked up the lyrics what I discovered shocked me. The song carries a much darker tone than the music video without a care in the world lead us to think.
Little kids sitting all around wishing they were sound asleep again.
Those are the opening lines to the song. The chorus goes like this:
Took them to what some call heaven. Children Lost. All 27. Gone.
The song is about mass murder, more specifically, the events of Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012. 20 year-old, Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School–along with his mother at his home earlier that day.
Jackson Scott probably felt something of a connection to the incident since, like Lanza, he was 20-years old at the time.
“Sandy” is playful. Combined with the subject matter, it’s twisted. For me, it was a fun song at first, then it became very scary. I was disillusioned–almost uncomfortable listening to it. However, I can appreciate it more now than before. Life is not one-dimensional. Where there’s happiness there’s grief. Where there’s life there’s death.
You can find out more about Jackson Scott’s newest album by following him on Facebook.