Torres is the stage name of 22-year old singer and guitar player Mackenzie Scott, who calls Memphis home. Her debut album Torres came out last week to favorable reviews. Her style straddles the line between some form of minimal indie-rock and sad-girl folk. She recorded the album mostly in single live-takes, preserving a “raw” sound and feel, which matches the emotion of her lyrics. There’s a lot of things that add up which make people liken her album to some of the really early Cat Power records. While I can understand why people might make that comparison, I can’t help but think of Sharon Van Etten‘s first album Because I Was in Love.
I’m not sure how I first caught wind of Torres, but I saw a review in Pitchfork the other day. The staff of Pitchfork doesn’t like very many things, but their writer gave Torres an 8.1. Which is a bit like any other magazine giving it a 9.5. As much as I hate to admit it, I was swayed by the Pitchfork review, and I downloaded the album. After a few listens, I liked it quite a bit. On the first listen, I was especially impressed by today’s song.
This is that song.
“Jealousy and I” by Torres
I really love the delicate and echo-y guitar play. Although it’s certainly not a sound-alike, that guitar bit at the very beginning of this song reminds me of the guitar bit at the very beginning of the U2 song “Bad”. U2 isn’t something I think about very often. In fact I try not to, but that’s a different story. “Bad” is a phenomenal song from a phenomenal record (The Unforgettable Fire).
There’s that, and there’s these heart-aching lyrics:
Would you really have a stranger in your bed
rather than let someone like me to take care of you
It’s no one’s problem but my own
I think I’ve always cared too much
I’m suffocating you I know
It’s just the only way I know to love
Jealousy gets me sometimes
But I don’t mind, no I don’t mind
‘Cause Jealousy and I
We’re two of a kind
And she’s all mine
I’m not sure whether “she’s all mine” refers to the object of her affection or to the jealousy. It doesn’t matter, because it’s basically the same thing, and it’s a great song either way.
There are some “untidy” things that were left in the mix and on the album. There are a few times when the vocals feed back a little and there are a few other times when the vocal wasn’t perfect, but she left it in there anyway. It’s not that the songs were designed to have imperfections in them. It’s just that she made the choice to leave some of the inevitable imperfections in there.