Brooke Josephson Releases “Live & Let Live” EP
When Paul McCartney made “Live and Let Die” the theme song to a James Bond movie, it was actually a word reversal of the original expression’s meaning. Brooke Josephson titles this new release Live & Let Live, which is the popular, more positive wording of the original phrase. It’s a six-song effort, which matches Josephson’s sweet voice with soft pop instrumentation for a pleasing and engaging collection.
Those that have followed Josephson’s ten-year recording career ought to recognize all these songs, as it is a total rerecording of this decade old project’s tracks. Much has changed in Josephsons life over this long timespan – as happens in all our lives. She’s the mother of two, and has grown as a composer, producer, and artists during these intervening years.
These new recordings are relatively stripped down, compared with their originals. This approach was intended to give songs a more up close and personal vibe. And this project does just that. For instance, “All We Never Had” keeps the instrumentation to a nearly bare minimum, as acoustic piano and sparse backing vocals are some of the few working parts on it. The release’s title track switches to acoustic piano as its primary accompanying instrument. Its lyrics have all the marks of a post-breakup message.
Let’s face it; to ‘live and let live’ is far easier said than done. Sure, we can behave altruistically when it comes to settling petty differences between friends. After all, friendships are far too important to allow stupid arguments to cause separation. However, circumstances are far different when it comes to romantic relationships. How does one forgive, forget, and move on after separating from a lover? (If you’ve solved that riddle, please pass on the solution to the rest of us, because this is a struggle for most of us – if we’re truly honest). To her credit, Josephson sounds amazingly at peace. This doesn’t mean pain doesn’t rear its ugly head now and again, but the operative word in her life right now is ‘live.’ To let suffering fester in one’s heart is much closer to death, than it is to life. Josephson has – wisely – chosen life.
You just have to love the title and sentiment expressed with “Good Kinda Tired.” A good kind of tired is, say, when you’ve put in a day’s work and accomplished much. Nobody likes to feel beat, but there’s a huge difference between being beat and feeling beaten. Although this recording also leans toward the softer side of rock, it nevertheless incorporates upfront electric guitar. It rocks somewhat the way Fleetwood Mac rocks, which is gently and persistently.
Another intriguing song title is “Burning Journals.” Perhaps it’s a song that mainly females can relate to, as they’re the ones more likely to journal than the menfolk. When one drills down into the song’s words, it’s clear this is one of those songs about putting the past in the rearview mirror. Journals that describe a different, younger person are sometimes no longer useful to a more mature adult. Josephson has decided not to dwell on the Brooke of her youth. She sings these life change lyrics over a hushed, folk-ish acoustic guitar sonic.
The project closes with the quietest track of all. With more acoustic guitar as its template, Josephson leans into the song’s spiritual message with believable faith. This is a hard-won faith, that has been tested with what she describes as “beautiful scars.” ‘Beautiful scars,’ come to think of it, is an appropriate and succinct phrase to describe the overall impact of this album. Brooke Josephson has taken her life scars, and fashioned these into lovely, encouraging, heartwarming music.