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Jensen McRae, 'Adam's Ribs'

At first glance, Jensen McRae's "Adam's Ribs" seems like an intriguing exploration of the biblical creation story from Eve's perspective. It's a lush, dreamy look at the tale, and McRae's poetic prowess is totally on display. With lyrics like "This love letter begins / To Adam, from your ribs / So-called intelligent design / Without you, I would die," McRae gives voice to the painful brutality of the creation story. Her Eve is a desperate, grief-stricken and abandoned figure, begging for Adam to "claim" her "as his own." The instrumental passage, heavy with a plucking electric guitar line and luscious string section, is dripping in melancholy and only heightens the lyrical tension.

When you take a closer look at the song, though, McRae's facade of narrative storytelling crumbles away. The song and its lyrics become wholly personal. Her voice reveals what the lyrics may not; the vulnerability in her mezzo-soprano becomes overwhelming. The song reaches its apex during the bridge, where McRae's gentle crooning surges into a full-out wail and the string section takes over in a way that feels damn-near orchestral.

Listening to McRae on this track feels a lot like breaking a bone and having to sit with the pain. It's breath-taking, all-encompassing, even life-shattering if listened to at the right (or wrong) moment. In other words, it's a track I've welcomed to my Sad Girl Spring playlist with a bone-crushing hug.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Cat Sposato
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