I Think I Am Not Okay
Mission Creek Festival: Xylouris White w/ Paul Cary, Peanut Ricky & the Fiends
The Mill — Wednesday, April 4 at 8 p.m.
A self-described sententious high school student, Jordan Adams (Conetrauma, Jailbus) was frequently skipping class and finding herself in Saturday detention, where she would spend her time in the art room. One day, when sorting through stacks of art prints as she usually did, a particular picture caught her eye. The dark photograph was of a blank wall that read “Peanut Ricky as a thunderbolt.” Adams, now 20 years old, has since released all of her solo music under the namesake.
Her latest effort, I Think I Am Not Okay, was released last month. Her first solo project, it depicts feelings of cynicism cobbled with resentment, while attempting to pursue and prove righteousness. As Adams put it simply in an interview: ”All of my music is about a bad person trying to be better.”
Most of the tracks were written and recorded in 30-40 minute intervals, and the stream-of-consciousness lyrics combine with a minimalist post-punk sound to mirror that spontaneity and raw emotion. The EP opens with “Thurston Moore,” named for the frontman of Sonic Youth, a band from which Adams draws a lot of influence. Like an anxious heartbeat, the percussion throbs as her pensive voice drones and cries, “I want you to smell the sweat on my skin/to see the blood and know I’m still a living thing.”
The religious imagery that adorns most of Adams’ demo artwork seems to emulate her desire for piety, which interestingly juxtaposes with the blood and honey tones of her sultry murmurs. She paints images of gory bathtubs and “black mass on floral print,” then pleads, “Please don’t leave me with all these dead animals, because I swear I’m a good person” (“Dead Animals”).
“Houston Red” is a brief moment of anger that erupts in a near-startling way in comparison to the rest of the EP’s brooding croons. It concludes with a high-pitched vibration that goes on just long enough to elicit discomfort before an energetic beat introduces the final track, “Good Hurt.”
I Think I Am Not Okay brings to mind the tiny oil slicks that form on top of puddles on a rainy day. On the surface, it generates feelings of palpable tension that leave a lasting, lonely memory. Just the right amount of light, though, releases beautiful bands of iridescent color and ultimately, promise.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 239.