Music Guyd: Sarah Jaffe’s “Body” Brakes

Connor Sobolik
Authored by
Connor Sobolik

May 2, 2013
12:03 a.m.

As humans, we build these beautiful walls capable of holding in any heartbreak. Every brick is carefully placed, and with a little luck the finely constructed emotional barrier should hold up just fine. Sarah Jaffe’s new album is here to unearth all the things hiding you from hurt.

Her self-proclaimed break-up album, The Body Wins, has all the stages of letting go, layered track by track and sealed with catchy accompaniment.

Jaffe is a young Texan artist with a whole lot of passion in her palms and a mind made for molding emotion. Her new album is more playful than the last, even given the subject matter. While she picks away at the pieces left behind from her recently ended relationship, she also celebrates her vocal abilities in a way that is slightly more upbeat, and almost aggressive at times. Jaffe says she has “never been prouder of a record.”

Tired of working with the same medium, she pushed herself to venture past the confines of her acoustic guitar that she worked with in Suburban Nature.

The guitar was a bit too familiar for me to write with at the time. I just needed to give it a break. When I picked up the Base, the very little I knew how to do on it, kind of opened up the door. It was just a newness in general. It opened the gates for me to be more creative and it allowed me to be more melodic in what I was doing. [Maybe] it’s simply because I just didn’t really know what I was doing [and it] brought this new perspective for me.”

The title can be interpreted in many ways, and I wanted to know what it meant to her. 

I don’t think I could make a record that didn’t really hit home for me.

I have an older sister who is my best friend, she is incredibly wise, and at the time I was going through this really shitty break-up. I don’t remember the exact context of what she was saying but it was applying to this relationship and she was very wisely putting an end to [my past] relationship.

Somewhere in the conversation she said “the body always wins,” and for some reason that phrase just stuck with me. I liked the idea of it kind of taking on a number of different meanings.

I have forgotten what the original meaning was, even. It could mean the physical “the body always wins” or just this end to the means of a relationship. I think that was basically what I was going at. Although it was morbid I meant it in a more light-hearted sense, not so dark. It was probably meant to be pretty dark when I wrote it.”

My favourite song on the album is “Sucker for Your Marketing.” The track tells a narrative of a girl who keeps going back to a bad situation. Her simple and melodic tone is a stark contrast to the heavy and heart-breaking words that paint a picture in your mind.

I wrote it the day that I went and bought a Base. The guy that works at the pawn shop was a friend of a friend and he gave me a deal. It was a piece of shit drum set and the Base was fine, but he was like “well you know, I’ll just give you this drum set and the Base to you for three hundred dollars,” and I was like “Sweet!”

I did the only beat that I know how to do (still), which is what you hear. I wrote that song that day. That’s kind of like the spark that I needed. That was the very first song. That’s one of my favorite ones to sing live, actually.

So why such a sad song?

It was more of a personal [story], not so much about the relationship but of why I was doing certain things in the relationship.

That point in the relationship I was with the person for a while and I was just falling for the same shit over and over again, [and] it was getting to be a little hysterical, you know? The phrase “sucker for your marketing” had actually been in my head before I even wrote that song.

I wanted to kind of be cheeky about the whole situation, just like kind of smug and saying “of course I will fall for your shit over and over again. I am just a sucker for it. Basically, whatever you are going to throw at me I am just going to eat it up!” I was taking that light-hearted saying and putting a little bit of depth of why I was falling for it over and over again.

You know, when the song is done, I kind of move on. It is such a form of relief. It was this end of a relationship that was already coming to a close. 

It was a pivotal moment for me.


Anonymous User
6 years, 11 months ago

I LOOOOOOOOVE this album! what you said about it is EXACTLY how I felt! it is truly spectacular!