The first live show I saw in an indoor venue after the pandemic started was in June last year. Squirrel Flower was playing a set at Chicago’s Sleeping Village, which also included Kara Jackson as opener. She took the stage with an acoustic guitar and I will never forget that performance, which was tinged with so much dry humor and candid lyricism told through a honeyed, crimson voice. Today, the Chicago-based musician releases her first music since her 2019 EP A song for every chamber of the heart. The single is called “no fun/party” and is accompanied by a surreal video directed by Jellystone Robinson.
Her comeback single shows Jackson gently plucking an acoustic guitar as she sings about the difficulty and cruel patience it takes to find love. “Looking for a reason, he could only find one / He said you just ain’t no fun, you just ain’t no fun / What if seeing you naked ain’t a so bargain / That would be a home run, that would be a home run,” the next verse continues. “Party” is even more stripped down, like a dusty 45 you pass in an abandoned garage. You bring it back to home and dance alone to Jackson’s reassuring lyrics and soulful banjo notes.
“This song is for anyone who’s felt like they didn’t quite fit the description of someone who can be loved, struggling to stumble out of the house and show their face,” jackson job about the song. “No fun is the scare and funk of it all; the party is the game plan: you can tell the world to fuck you and be the life of the party in your own bedroom!” She also shouts out some big names in the Chicago music community who helped bring this song to life, including NNAMDÏ, KAINA, Sen Morimoto, and Macie Stewart.
Watch the video below, which pays tribute to literary figures such as Angela Carter, the Brothers Grimm, Carmen Maria Machado, and more.