[listen] Jackson Scott, “Sandy”

The indie songwriter uses jangly festivity to tell the story of a massacre.

- May 13, 2013

On first listen, “Sandy”  has the shambly festive earnestness of a middle school Christmas play as recorded in a reel-to-reel, with Jackson whinnied carols guiding tamborines and choirs of cotton ball bearded Santas and blanket-draped angels. It baits you with this sweet bit of inspired and specific nostalgia, and then tears your heart right from its chest. The title isn't the only reference to last year's horror in Newton, Connecticut. Both a reference to Adam Lanza's first victim (“Mommy's gone, he took her right away”) and the subsequent massacre (“Children lost, all 27, gone”) are sung with the gut-wrenching twinkle of door-to-door carollers performing at a funeral (“Off you go into forever/live and die these times will settle”.) Scott puts a few translucent barriers of poetic license between the carnage and the festive season it took place in, weaving a complex narrative that's also a stinging cultural critique in under two minutes. Jackson's album Melbourne is out July 23rd.

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