Artist: Jacob Gemmell
Album: Seen Through
Label: None (released independently)
Release Date: January 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson
4. Grace (Inside)
7. Zarla (I Got a Crush)
8. Nina (Take Me Away)
10. Charity (Wrapped up all in you)
11. Miriam (Right Feelings, Wrong Time)
12. Jane (Prayer for Love)
Sent from the Washington DC area, Seen Through is a musical walk through the life of a young man named Jacob Gemmell. After looking over the impressive cover art, the second thing noticed about this album will be the tracklist. Twelve songs, each titled after a different girl. Either this man is a mad player who just foolishly gave himself away, or there is something more going into this. While the first option would have been a great listen, the second is more accurate. Jacob Gemmell explains it himself, saying “Last November I thought of the idea to record a CD with one song for every girl I liked since I started writing songs.” The results are musically mixed, but bring so rich a history that the early songs are worthwhile to see Jacob’s progression, not only musically, but also in his thoughts and feelings towards love.
“Betsy” was written in 1996 when Jacob was only ten. It’s simple, but not bad. “Lisa” shows its age with some laughably terrible lyrics, but don’t worry- it’s all redeemed after a few listens. All of the tracks on Seen Through are based around Jacob’s clear voice and his upbeat acoustic guitar. Some tracks include a bongo-styled percussion instrument, and many have a bass guitar layered into the background. Others range from the electronic strings and drums of “Grace” to the darker “Kimmy” whose chorus contains vocals reminiscent of Calibretto 13. An electric guitar is brought in for “Zarla,” a song which should probably be played in the background of the next Lindsey Lohan film. “Nina” is slowed-down and shows a definite turn in the album’s direction. Jacob has matured, both in his song-writing and lyrical depth. “Miriam” exchanges the guitar for a piano and much more soft-sung vocals, and “Jane” ends the album as a soft and slow acoustic song asking God to show Jacob if this girl is the right one for him.
On my first few listens, I got caught up in the low production quality, but it’s not too bad as long as you use speakers and not headphones. The bass is a little weak on some of the early tracks, as are the lyrics, and the vocals seem too quiet for the second half of the disc. These are minor complaints though, and overall Jacob Gemmell has done a decent job with this unique concept. As put by Jacob, “You might notice that I mention God a few times in the CD. That is because without God, there is no Love.” This attitude shows great growth from “Betsy,” making listening to Seen Through more like reading an autobiography than the typical artist’s idea of releasing one chapter at a time.