‘Unstoppable’ is definitely the word I’d use to describe Jaguar Jonze, and if you take a moment to look back at her musical career over the past couple of years, you’ll see why.
Like a beehive in springtime, there was a lot of buzz going around for the Brisbane musician last year as she was busy releasing music and playing festivals, tours, Like A Versions - you name it. Then in April this year, Jonze dropped her debut EP Diamonds & Liquid Gold, all the while recovering from Covid-19 and going into isolation, as well as dropping a cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic in August in response to her involvement in the recent #metoo movement in the Australian music industry. And now, just a handful of months later, Jaguar Jonze is back again with another power-loaded single Deadalive.
Written and recorded during lockdown in New York, Deadalive touches on the themes and emotions we’ve all experienced this year - the fear and panic of what’s going on and what the world is looking like. And you can feel that through the frantic configuration of pulsing percussion and guitars like a lightning storm as Jonze structures each verse with an anaphora before launching into the chorus:
Running so empty like we're gonna die
Put up the walls for us to stay inside
Feeling so heavy like we're deadalive, deadalive
Like we're deadalive, deadalive this time
It’s a scary thought and experience for all of us, to be in the limbo of lockdown, living somewhere between being dead and alive. I think that’s what Jaguar Jonze is showing here by titling the song as "Deadalive" - combining the two words together rather than leaving them separate. Because full social-isolation could feel like there’s a grey area between the two and many have, and still are, experiencing that.
I’ve seen a lot of songs already come out that are about this pandemic. Usually I’m not a fan of them, because they’re the most obvious, boring lyrics (and some are just straight conspiracy theory bullshit that’s not worth my time), but Deadalive is by far the exception here. This song really takes on a lot of weight when you hear about Jonze writing this in lockdown after a canceled US tour, and Jonze herself contracting the virus and even having to celebrate her debut EP release while in hospital. This song was written from the inside perspective, and so I think it’s important to listen to. Also Jaguar Jonze can do no wrong, so of course it's a great song.
So yeah, Jaguar Jonze is like an unstoppable weapon, and don’t expect her to slow down anytime soon.