Inner – Lovetheonlyway


Some of the most brilliant works are created by control-freaks. There’s Siamese Dream- Smashing Pumpkins’ rock opus created by the hair-impaired Billy Corgan; Radiohead’s Kid A, which was dominated by Thom Yorke; and there was Jimi Hendrix’ Electric Ladyland, among many others. All of them are great albums, and although Inner’s debut Lovetheonlyway is not groundbreaking like the aforementioned albums, it definitely deserves the attention that only a control-freak can create.
Inner is essentially Jennifer Turner’s solo project. Turner started her career in the mainstream spotlight, playing guitar for Natalie Merchant. Later, Turner turned to another group under the moniker Furslide with Nellee Hooper, Jason Lader, and Adam MacDougall. The band signed a contract with Virgin and was well on their way to mainstream success, opening for bands such as the Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, and Alanis Morissette (ironically, Lenny Kravitz is a Jimi Hendrix clone, Radiohead opened for Alanis, and the Smashing Pumpkins are the Smashing Pumpkins). Anyhoo, the wheels of success abruptly stopped turning when the band broke up and Turner found herself in need of more creative control. Ditching major record labels, Turner erected her own label, Caboose, and has churned out 13 satisfying tunes.
It feels as though Turner is finally creating exactly what she wants with Inner, catering to her control-freak persona. From melancholy acoustic numbers (“Stories”) and beautiful acoustic ballads (“Begun”) to avant-garde tunes (“Thinkingisthewaymymindsounds”) and funky full-band rockers (“Myphilosophy”), the album visits an array of genres and moods, providing just the right amount of balance and variety. Each song smoothly runs into one another and compliments each other flawlessly. Turner knows just when to pump things up and when to quiet things down. However, the album shines brightest when Turner takes advantage of the intimacy of the acoustic guitar and/or minimal arrangements.
The strongest songs may be the last two on the album. “Lullabye” contains a haunting demeanor and lush instrumentation, drawing comparisons to Bjork’s modest beauty on Vespertine. Heartfelt vocals float over the heavenly music, as an optimistic undercurrent plays throughout. The next song “Kissme2x” follows with equal beauty, featuring minimal acoustic guitar work, as Tuner bestows her most visceral vocal performance on the album. It would have been great to have heard more songs like these in place of the full-band rockers because the intimacy is in its rawest, most obvious form, exposing Turner’s fragility.
Though not revolutionary nor incredibly original, Lovetheonlyway passes on so many levels. It takes the accessible nature of mainstream music and adds a creative and intimate twist, never relying on roaring choruses or overbearing drums. It’s personal, intimate, and most importantly, a work marked with passion. It’s the type of music that doesn’t necessarily appeal to this reviewer, yet manages to evoke emotions I thought were only reserved for 15-year-old females. If that’s not reason enough to get the album, then I don’t know what is.