We can meticulously plan things out to intricate perfection but, when all is said and done, sometimes you have to just let go and trust in the flow of the Universe. This couldn’t be more true for Janine as of late, who took a graceful leap into independence following a simultaneously abrupt yet overdue departure from Atlantic Records. After officially marking her newfound freedom with the reworked “Vacation” in June, Janine had been plotting on the release of her even more official first single since stepping away from the label life.
“Broke Me Down” was written, produced and engineered by Janine. The New Zealand-bred artist even handled the artwork, using the raw photograph that came courtesy of her sister, Deb Foster, to manifest the official cover. To say this record was a personal experience would be an understatement. It signifies so much, both literally and figuratively – so it makes sense Janine would want the launch of the new track to be perfect.
Welp, things didn’t quite go as planned. Thanks to some glitches in the system, “Broke Me Down” arrived earlier than expected, without the proper fanfare, promotion and pomp and circumstance. Not one to let an “oops” moment ruin her bubbly vibes, Janine rolled with it, basking in the roller coaster of emotion that accompanied the release, as well as the events that shaped it’s creation.
She’s independent. She’s free. She can be Janine – whatever that means, is and entails as each new moment unfolds. And, with the spontaneously unpredictable release of “Broke Me Down,” Janine gets to – for the first time in a while – be unapologetically Janine.
Boy, I’m sorry things didn’t go as planned. But I’m certainly far from sorry that we get to experience “Broke Me Down.” ‘Cause this record is on some vintage Janine vibes – it’s sure to make you remember exactly why you fell in love with her in the first place. Not that you’ve forgotten, of course. But “Broke Me Down” calls upon the soulfully seductive sonic essence that paved the foundation of Janine’s early work while stirring in the growth and maturity of an artist and a human being over the last few years. And, baby, we should never showcase the beauty without documenting the destruction from which it came.
So shine on, Janine. And don’t ever stop letting that light shine bright.
“Broke Me Down” features a slow build, starting off in the calm, stagnant waters before gradually erupting in a powerful release of emotive purge. There’s a soft, comforting and almost simple instrumentation that serves to wrap Janine’s ethereal vocals in a supportive embrace. Together, the lyrical prose and wavy production find a symbiotic balance, merging into a united element of vibrational medicine – for the listener and for our protagonist.
Interestingly, “Broke Me Down” could be viewed as a testimonial regarding an intimate relationship. It’s no secret a large amount of Janine’s catalogue dances with themes of love, heartbreak, trust, betrayal and all the other beautiful pieces of relationships both good and bad. But, given the recent departure from Atlantic, one might also listen to Janine’s latest as if it were a romanticized version of her relationship with the label. In both cases, the content of Janine’s angelic song is fitting – listeners hear of an individual who is remembering and stepping back into a place of self-love, letting go of the ties that bound her to a very real yet very toxic connection.
While I’ve already touched on the artwork briefly, it’s worth noting the significance of Deb Foster’s photo. The image used came from a shoot that featured Janine posing without a full face of “makeup, eyeliner, lashes, lipstick, etc.” Much like the record itself, the artwork does a wondrous job capturing the unabashed essence of pure, unconditional love of self – inside and out, accepting and loving all that you are. Physically, it is our “blemishes” that make us unique and, in turn, make us beautiful. The sisters did a great job taking this concept and flipping it into a photo, which would then go on to become the artwork for a record capturing the same sentiment. We talkin’ ’bout levels here, man.
And wouldn’t you know, the system caught up to it’s glitches so “Broke Me Down” has been removed from most major streaming services until it’s officially released. But, you can still stream Janine’s latest below: