Songs You Should Know: “A War is Coming” – Jeanne Added

Jeanne Added’s debut LP, Be Sensational, dropped last summer in Europe, but those of us on this side of the pond are still waiting for an official North American release. And our breath is bated. The first single from Be Sensational, “A War is Coming,” did show up on a North American release in February of 2015, when Jeanne Added put out her self-titled EP here. But that’s really all we’ve heard of Added in the US, and it’s our loss.

Added, a singer/songwriter from Reims, France, is entering the second act of a career that saw her carve a space on the Paris jazz scene in the mid-2000s. She graduated from the program in jazz and improvised musics at the Conservatoire de Paris, and was an in-demand singer appearing with a number of ensembles and projects. But about a decade ago, she started playing electric bass, toying with covers of “Little Red Corvette” with her trio, and generally eschewed the looming shadow of jazz chanteuse that seemed to be her fate. That’s made all the difference.

“A War is Coming” evinces a militaristic mood, opening to a brooding, intimidating, and crowded vocal. The simple, repetitive melody thumps over a stuttered march rhythm, and as the song progresses, Added layers her voice into responsive choirs singing ascending “oh-whoas” that threaten and impend. Few songs demonstrate mood that matches text as well as this, as Added’s cresting melodies tear through fragile defenses to warn of a war that’s coming, and we’re stuck here.

We won’t see Jeanne Added in Boston anytime soon, but for the intrepid listener willing to head north, she’ll be at the Montreal International Jazz Festival this summer.

Learn more at jeanneadded.com.