Jay Som’s ‘Everybody Works’ Is a Brilliant Piece of Bedroom Pop

Jay Som Press Photo (Credit: Cara Robbins)

Everybody Works, which follows her 2016 compilation Turn Into, is Jay Som’s first album as such. Melina Duterte, who records and performs under the Jay Som moniker, recorded the album in her bedroom over the course of three weeks in October. Tossing away many old demos, she wrote half of the album on the spot in addition to recording, playing, and producing every sound on Everybody Works (save some backing vocals). The result is a crowning achievement in the realm of bedroom pop.

Where well-honed guitar work was the defining feature of Turn Into, Duterte has expanded her sound on Everybody Works. She cites influences ranging from Tame Impala to Yo La Tengo to Pixies and even to Carly Rae Jepsen, whose E•MO•TION album, Duterte says, “inspired a lot of the sounds on Everybody Works.” Standout track “The Bus Song” begins quietly with only Duterte’s voice and a quietly plucked guitar before quickly expanding to a larger, almost orchestral sound.

The Jay Som of Turn Into makes appearances as well. The barnstorming “1 Billion Dogs” is filled to the brim with shredding guitars and fuzzy vocals, while “Take It” needs less than three and a half minutes to extract the best of ‘90s alt rock.

“One More Time, Please” is proof positive of Duterte’s ability to craft a smooth, luxurious pop song. A slinky riff leads the song, backed a subtle, funky rhythm.

The songs on Everybody Works, not unlike its predecessor, deal in angst and frustration, but Everybody Works also shows a sense of maturity in those experiences, with Duterte herself saying, “Last time I was angry at the world. This is a note to myself: everybody’s trying their best on their own set of problems and goals. We’re all working for something.”

Jay Som’s Everybody Works is out now through Polyvinyl Records and is available via Amazon, iTunes, and Polyvinyl’s online store.

 Lead Image: Cara Robbins