J. I. Gassen – “how do you know it’s not a sign?”


Expanding gorgeously from introspective folk into a hooky psych-pop glow, “how do you know it’s not a sign?” is a recent track from J. I. Gassen. The Washington-based artist impresses with a captivating and dynamic song structure, especially evident as the “every sailor needs a boat,” line leads into bouncy keys and buzzing guitars — exuding a melodic sound reminiscent of Dr. Dog. The mid-point shows a haunting, piano-laden contemplation that drives into an even more exuberant psych-pop bounce, closing this melodic delight in satiating form.

Gassen elaborates further:

“This song is about the process of making sense of your life, and how that process is ultimately up to your interpretation and worldview. It is impossible to know if an event or thought is a sign from something beyond us, or if everything is just random and unintentional. So this song poses the titular question to the listener, without a real answer besides life being what you make it.”

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of February 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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