Infused with a sense of poignancy and melancholy, the new single ‘Teenager Again’ from Sydney’s Laura Jean is a glowing, sparkling track that shimmers with a delicious bittersweet glow. Singing when I was seventeen my mama could not handle me, Jean reflects on the personal memories of growing up and the vulnerability this can cause – you make me feel like a teenager again. There is a raw beauty and expressiveness delivered over a bed of jangling guitars and the ethereal backing vocals of Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams, which add a golden, ethereal and delicate filigree.
Jean says of the track:
I have been chipping away at this song for a long time. I made up the backing vocal parts walking around a park with my dog, and I think that was when I knew the song was ready. It’s wonderful to hear those parts now sung by Hannah and Marlon. The song is about some of the things I tried as a teenager to heal my panic disorder. This included seeing a psychic, completing a Reiki course, going on Lite’n’Easy to try and lose weight, and many other acts of desperation. Nothing worked, but I’m OK.
The accompanying video is poignant footage of a bygone era that captures the sense of reflection on the past. Filmed in the late 90s by Jean of her younger sister Erica, doing quintessentially 90s teenage things like dancing around in acid washed jeans and playing grunge rock at the school eisteddfod, the video was edited by Phoebe Taylor (Boy & Bear, Jane Goodall’s Boody campaign). Jean says of the video, which has an astounding connection to a famous antipodean director:
The video is compiled from footage I found in a box in my mum’s cupboard. When we were teenagers my sister, her best friend Mark Bradshaw and I would borrow the video camera from school. We used it as therapy, making earnest abstract films that tried to represent what was going on in our heads. We also filmed random things at school and Mark’s rock band. Sometimes, our uncle’s wife at the time, the film director Jane Campion, would give us film challenges. Some of the footage is a result of her challenge to make a film portrait of yourself or someone else. I made portraits of Erica.
The result is a humour-laced journey to a carefree youth:
‘Teenager Again’ can be downloaded and streamed here. It comes off Jean’s newly announced album ‘Amateurs’ due for release through Chapter Music on 4 November 2022. The backing vocals from Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams feature on two other tracks on the album. You can preorder the album here and get in a variety of formats (along with live footage from a concert) through the link below:
Feature Photograph: Rochelle Marie Adam