Jennifer Castle - “Monarch Season” Review

Story posted October 23, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment by Grace Muratore.

“Monarch Season” is Jennifer Castle’s sixth album, coming two years after her previous project which was released in 2018. “Monarch Season” is a relatively short album consisting of nine songs in total, offering listeners an abundance of cohesive, airy folk and alternative sounds.

Castle is a Canadian singer-songwriter who got her start by singing at open mic nights in her hometown of Toronto. Castle reflects on her latest album saying “this record is a reminder to cherish openly that which reflects off and onto me.”

“Monarch Season” does indeed reflect on past experiences and feelings, some of them happy while others being more desolate. This album is filled with the sounds of piano, acoustic guitar and harmonica — all of which embody the lyrics within each song.

The album opens with “Theory Rest,” which contains no lyrics at all but is a calm, relaxing introduction to the album. This song provides a sneak peek at the remaining eight songs in the album.

Unfortunately, all of the songs sound the same, as they all contain the same instrumentals and soft, nonchalant melodies.

Despite the instrumental qualities, many of Castle’s songs on this album describe heartbreak and wishes to not be broken again. It seems as if she is recounting past memories that she hopes to avoid in the future.

“NYC” is the second track which paints a picture of escapism to the city. This track opens with the bright sounds of the harmonica but describes the actions of traveling and seeing friends to keep from thinking of someone who has left.

Three of the songs from this album reference the idea of being broken by someone who was once close at heart. “Moonbeam or Ray,” “Purple Highway” and “Broken Hearted” all contain verses that wish to not be left alone, indicating heartbreak, loneliness and being hurt.

These three songs all contain solemn background instrumentals with the soft-spoken guitar and piano driving home the feeling of sadness.

Listeners could easily become weary while listening to “Monarch Season” as the lyrical and instrumental components of the album are very repetitive.

For listeners to thoroughly enjoy the album, though, they must listen closely to the way Castle describes her past experiences and feelings. While the theme from song to song is similar, the way she puts them into words is rather unique.

In the album-titled song “Monarch Season,” Castle describes watching butterflies and wanting to fly away with them, a reference to escapism and a fresh beginning. She sings “I wish the origami king would come to find me and fold my page into something strange and set it on the wind.”

In another song titled “I’ll Never Walk Alone,” Castle describes listening for joy and pain “inside of my veins.”

These kinds of descriptions make the feeling of transformation more realistic and the feeling of searching for emotion more relatable. 

Overall, Castle’s album “Monarch Season” gives listeners a personal account of heartbreaks and trying to find happiness. If it weren’t for such stark similarity throughout the album, “Monarch Season” would be a powerful album full of tranquil memories.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Monarch Season” and “Broken Hearted”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Veins”

Grace Muratore is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at gem5301@psu.edu.

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Grace Muratore

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Grace Muratore is a sophomore from Fredericksburg, Virginia majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. She is a writer for the CommRadio arts & entertainment department. She also is a part of the studio crew for PSNtv. If you would like to contact her, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).