Joanna Sternberg: I’ve Got Me [Album Review]

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Joanna Sternberg
I’ve Got Me
Fat Possum Records [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

Joanna Sternberg’s sophomore album, I’ve Got Me, is a heartfelt and introspective album that delves into themes of recognition, self-discovery, and resilience. With their raw and honest songwriting, Sternberg invites listeners on a deeply personal journey, showcasing their remarkable talent as both a songwriter and performer.

The album opens with the hauntingly beautiful title track, immediately setting an introspective tone. Sternberg’s delicate vocals blend effortlessly with the sparse instrumentation, allowing the lyrics to take center stage. Each song on the album feels like a window into Sternberg’s soul, revealing their innermost thoughts and emotions.

One of the standout tracks on the album is “People Are Toys To You,” with its bouncy electric guitar and foot-tapping folk jangle that perfectly complements Sternberg’s blunt lyrics. The line “You said you stayed ‘cause you felt bad for me, How sweet of you to call me charity” captures the essence of the song’s message. Another highlight is the track “Stockholm Syndrome.” This song reflects on a past romantic relationship, shedding light on the realization that certain behaviors once perceived as normal were actually damaging. Sternberg’s soulful introspection shines through, showcasing their impressive vocal range and ability to convey a touching vulnerability. The stripped-down instrumentation enhances the emotional weight of the song, creating a deeply moving listening experience.

Throughout the album, Sternberg demonstrates a keen understanding of dynamics, effortlessly transitioning between quiet, intimate moments and more intense, cathartic crescendos. The instrumentation is understated yet effective, as they perform every single instrument heard on the record (cello, violin, guitar, piano, double bass, to name a few). Working alongside producer Matt Sweeney and engineer Daniel Schlett, Sternberg delivers a remarkable album that showcases their undeniable talent as a singer-songwriter.

I’ve Got Me is a must-listen for fans of introspective folk music, representing Sternberg’s best work to date. Their unique voice and ability to convey complex emotions make this album a captivating and timeless musical experience.

“People Are Toys To You” / “Stockholm Syndrome” / “Human Magnet”

Tomberlin / Daniel Johnston / Kimya Dawson

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Thomas Wilde
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