Julian Moon is a singer/songwriter hailing from Salt Lake City Utah. She describes her music as “acoustic pop” on her Facebook page and I think that’s an accurate description. Listening to her songs, it’s easy to picture her sitting alone in a room somewhere, writing them on a trusty acoustic guitar.
I randomly happened across Julian’s album on Amazon — you can listen to it free with Prime — and I immediately fell in love with it. Her voice is adorable and her songs remind me of Jewel’s first album, Pieces of You. To that end, she’s like a cross between pre-country Jewel and A Fine Frenzy, both in terms of the sound of her voice and in terms of her simple but rich songwriting.
The album opens with the energetic title track, “Good Girl.” Of all the tracks on the album, this one has the most prominent beat and uppity tempo. Since this is a very organic-sounding album, I’m assuming that the beats are live percussion; if you’re looking for perfectly programmed songs with electro-flourishes then this is about as far removed from that as you can get. I wouldn’t be surprised if Julian recorded her vocals and guitar tracks at the same time. I wouldn’t even be surprised to learn that the album was recorded live in the studio. You definitely feel like you’re watching her perform in a coffee house as you listen to it. Speaking of which, my favorite song here is called “A Cup Of Coffee” and I’m assuming that she was once a barista after listening to it because I was one myself and her lyrics here resemble thoughts that I would have as picky people would come in and order things like a two percent triple shot decaf iced two pump raspberry white mocha with whipped. As she sings, “It’s just a fucking cup of coffee, lady.” To put things in perspective, she asks the customer if their dog died. And you really can’t blame her. I had customers who’d fall apart, as though their dog had actually died, when I’d get their drinks even slightly wrong. Later she sings, “I wish I could punch you in the face / But I can’t / I wish I could stand up on this counter and rant / But I can’t / Instead I have to say / Have a nice day.” If you’re thinking about getting a job as a barista, you should listen to this cautionary tale first. (Actually, I loved being a barista. And most of the customers were great. There were just a handful of people who seemed to order the most complex things imaginable just to test me and see if I got them right.)
“How To Break A Heart” is a song about, well, exactly what the title implies. But it’s certainly not advising anyone to break someone’s heart. On the contrary, it’s a tender ballad from the perspective of someone who’s had their heart torn right open. To that end, one can’t help but suspect that Julian has known brutal heartache as you listen to her deeply emotive vocals and spot on lyrics here. I should also mention that this one is piano-driven and the piano works just as well with her voice as the acoustic guitar. While the verses are very soft, almost what I’d call delicate, there are some hefty beats during the chorus. Said beats are the only thing on the album that I suspect might have been programmed, but who really cares about that? The only question you should ask yourself is if it’s a good song and it’s a great one indeed. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little teary-eyed by the time you’re done listening to it.
Another highlight is “Rebound,” which has a subtle doo-wop vibe, especially in terms of the background vocals, which find her singing “dum da da dum” throughout much of the track. The song would still be a strong one without that, but it’s an added detail that really makes it shine. “I’m just a rebound / Stop calling me your girlfriend,” she sings regretfully, wishing she was something more to the person the song addresses.
There are an awful lot of singer/songwriters doing acoustic based songs right now, perhaps more so than during generations past. What separates Julian from the rest is the way that you feel like you’re truly getting to know her while listening to the album. It over-flows with personality and that alone makes it a winner in my book. That the songs span the full spectrum between super sarcastic and terribly sad is just the icing on the cake. It also scores points for being much more diverse than your typical acoustic-based album, no two songs sounding alike. Add to that the fact that her songs are so catchy and you simply must give it a spin. Julian Moon could turn out to be her generation’s Carole King.