Dora Jar – Comfortably in Pain EP: Review

Charisma. Charm. Fun. Emotionally driven. Simple words, sure, but accurate when describing the music of Dora Jar. Every step she takes has been a positive push forward, slowly refining her sound and becoming one of pop-rock’s hidden gems. On her new EP, Comfortably In Pain, Dora continues to hone in the rock sensibilities, blending fun and poignant lyricism that feeds into her quirky demeanor. Upon listening to “Polly” off last year’s Digital Meadow, she drove home these sensibilities with her spectacular songwriting and charming melodies. These qualities kept returning as Comfortably In Pain continued, and I repeat, but I can say without a doubt, there was a lot of enjoyment listening to this project. 

Dora Jar’s witty and vibrant songwriting has been a cornerstone of her charm. With lines like: “​​In the ring, let the red flag billow/Below me is a city, you can call me Godzilla/Cross the road little chicken, wanna stomp upon a bully/’Cause I’m invincible,” on “Polly” it’s easy to find that relativity between her and the listener by picking fantastical elements to replace the norm. She continues to bring it within many songs on Comfortably In Pain, like “Scab Song,” which sees Dora expanding the creative world inside her mind. In the song’s third verse, she sings: “You have green and blue veins/Loopin’ like spaghetti through your body’s traffic lanes/Sometimes I like to pretеnd that your veins have no end/And I can drivе through them,” continuing and developing the style. 

It isn’t just the fluidity of her songwriting that brings anything Dora Jar touches to life. It’s the captivating energy with her melodies, like in “Tiger Face;” she can fluctuate tempos to reflect an emotional core within each section – the verses see her keeping it real with her desires, her likes, and her feelings – while the chorus delivers a playful melody replicating a balance in her relationship. Within these lines, she is signaling her desire to see this person’s fierce side, as it brings some extra spice. The song is complemented by rustic acoustic strings before immersing itself within the confines of the production as it layers with the percussion – drums and piano keys. It is similarly the case with “It’s Random,” where it switches midway, like a random shift that beautifully contrasts the somber acoustic opener.

The production continues to shine, albeit some minimalism in instrumentations. There is an elegant balance between the twinkling guitar strings and rock progression. Dora Jar knows what she wants and tries to encapsulate those sentiments, like the pop-ballad “Lagoon.” It shows that she isn’t always gravitating toward the electronic trend in music; Dora is refining 2000s pop-rock and alt-rock and making it her own by twisting these various elements in the mortar and creating a great blend. It’s a testament to the producers for seeing her vision and adapting their structured approach for something a little more chaotic and fun like she does with “Scab Song” –  a literal song about a scab, with the resounding depth of opposite connotations that distinguish a sense of beauty speaks to the greatness of her craft.

Comfortably In Pain is a whimsical journey through the mind of Dora Jar as she continues to raise her ceiling. She is bringing energy beneath the charm and charisma. But most importantly, she knows herself and it reflects with the music she creates. Each new project is another step on this journey to grow bigger than she is now.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Dora Jar – Digital Meadow: Review

Dora Jar’s emergence has been one beautifully organic rise to witness through the Internet. There is an authenticity behind the music; specifically in the way she constructs her music. She isn’t like many independent alternative artists today. She can shift her vocal range to match sounds ranging from rock with angst to pop ballads without skipping a beat; and her writing matches the strength of her vocals. This elevated quality delivered on her debut LP, Digital Meadow, as she continues to show immense growth in her artistry. 

Digital Meadow has moments that are unlike the music she has released prior. There is a focused shift in the lyrical and vocal aspect of the music and less toward the atmospheric strings that embodies a song like “Multiply.” This shift was first heard on the standout “Quiver,” from her debut EP, Three Songs. “Quiver” keeps the contextual atmosphere on a minimal level as she creates ad-lib harmonization between verses and choruses, but the broken and emotional doubt in the performance comes as its strongest component. 

It’s hard to find many faults without being overly picky, like the inclusion of “Quiver” and “Multiply,” on Digital Meadow. These two were highlights amongst the few tracks she has released, and they fit within the concept, which is very much like reading a. These are very well nitpicks, but as it is with concept albums like this it is always about quality over quantity. “Quiver” is a beautiful pop ballad that showed she had more than what “Multiply” delivered. Though a lot of the production takes pieces from these two songs, along with “Look Back” from her EP, and explores them more on the album.

Dora and her producers make an effort to sonically and lyrically have focus as the stories that fill Digital Meadow with cohesion. There are various avenues she explores sonically as she gives us a look into her person. On the intro, “Opening,” she lets it be known the kind of body we will find ourselves in throughout this musical journey of hers. And it proceeds as she starts to deliver pieces of her that have been with her before and since her spine re-alignment surgery, which she recently documented about on Instagram.

Using music as a crutch, as well as exuberating ambition to perform long before the surgery, Dora Jar has been able to show a wide array of unique constructs on these five new songs, like the rustic and electrifying “Polly.” It’s an anthem that emboldens individuality and strength of one, especially when you see the world as one with endless possibilities, like she sings in part of the chorus, “Below me is a city, you could call me Godzilla / Cross the road little chicken, wanna stomp upon a bully / ‘Cause I’m invincible.” And conversely she delivers a slightly dark verse before elevating the song with infectious melodies.

Dora Jar continues this on the delicately crafted “Wizard.” She flips and rearranges an inclusion like anthem. The song has this unique hip-hop like rhythm to the verses, in contrast to the felicitously poppy chorus melodies and harmonies. She closes the album on the punk rock ‘Voice In The Darkness,” which is about the plethora of emotions flowing through her mind as her aforementioned spine alignment surgery was a major worry, and understandably so. The way she brings these fears into distressing angst, and at times broken and scared, vocal performance left a tear to this eye as it flourishes from start to finish.

Digital Meadow is an amazing full-fledged debut from New York based indie alternative artist Dora Jar. She has a defined sound that can go places and it showed, from the different types of pop rock ballads and hauntingly rustic rock to expressive vocals makes this one of my favorite debut projects of the year. And even-though she isn’t selling gangbusters now; she has the talent to grow beyond and is someone I’m looking forward to seeing creates more and more.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

EP Round Up – Dora Jar & Drake

This weekend saw a decent amount of releases; from the surprise hype project for YG’s record label to the over stylish electro pop album by Zara Larsson, there is a lot to digest and enjoy. However, nothing has been as ear grabbing as the projects from Indie songwriter Dora Jar and, well, Drake, who deliver momentum, in their own way, toward what is in store for 2021.

Dora Jar – Three Songs (Single)

Dora Jar came onto the radar from an Instagram post by Pigeon and Planes, where they highlight independent artists and mark possible similarities to other artists. This is for the purpose of growing a listeners’ base with similar tastes, but from the few songs she has released prior to Three Songs – Single has shown strength through her ability to flow easily through lower-medium vocal pitch-like instrumentations of “Multiply.” Though the title seems to have some misconception with the single tagline, the three songs on Dora Jar’s Three Songs is equivocally more immersive and beautiful than the title suggests.

In keeping with the overtures from rustic acoustic guitar riffs, from her previous singles, the EP adds depth to the three songs. Dora Jar brings different archetypal layers that elevate the emotional grasp she initially gets you with, like on “Quiver.” The opening track has an eclectic array of simple strings and percussion that build upon the mood – re-enforced by Dora Jar’s strong vocal delivery and lowly piano keys. 

“Believe,” unfortunately doesn’t hit as hard as “Quiver” and the closing track, “Look Back.” This is mostly due to the simplistic acoustics that drowns out any undercoating the production has. Dora Jar doesn’t disappoint as a writer. All three tracks have an emotional cadence from her delivery of the words on paper, with each track tackling innate insecurities Dora has/what her listeners can relate to. This and the production is what makes “Look Back” such an eloquent song to cap off the “EP.”

Elevated by a strong opening and ending track, Three Songs – Single is a better-set introduction to her artistry and the music to come as she grows into her own.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Drake – Scary Hours 2

There has been great consistency from Drake when he delivers smaller projects and this is because it allows him to be more concise and structured as opposed to “trying to do too much.” This has been the case for his recent album, but EPs like Scary Hours and The Best In The World Pack have been a completely different animal. Scary Hours 2 continues that trend with a monstrous delivery and insane production. The EP takes Drake back to his more astute lyricism, that he tends to hold back in order to create a grander landscape with the music, but there is more impact this go around.

Scary Hours 2 is a collection of three songs that bring various perspectives about the grandeur-scheme behind success and the way it affects those within the light, like on the standout “Wants and Needs,” featuring Lil Baby. The production has a crisp ambiance that is less reliant on a 1-2-3 1-2-3 base beat pattern, and instead takes on a somber coating to the BPM. The subtlety allows Drake’s infectious chorus delivery to immerse the listener deeper into the context of the themes/contents of the track. Lil Baby’s energetic flow adds a lot of vibrant colors to the track elevating as the best of the EP.

The other two tracks have their own way to create great energy, like the Trap-centric “What’s Next,” and the fully defined “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” which has Drake and Rick Ross pitting themselves against the pen and paper and giving us introspective lyricism that hits harder on a beach in Miami, with the powerful drums patterns eclipsing the smooth ambiance from underlying vocalizations and soft, but impactful hi-hats.

Scary Hours 2 is a phenomenal tease-hype EP for Drake, whose capability of creating concise and tightly structured mini projects glows on this. Though there are reservations about the upcoming release from Drake, mostly because of the title Certified Lover Boy; however this offers enough new bangers to keep you satisfied until the album.

Rating: 8 out of 10.