Lisa Germano’s music is like finding an old photograph at a yard sale. Somehow, inexplicably, you’re drawn in by a sad or troubled expression staring back in black and white. Soon, without knowing fully why, you feel a connection to the woman sitting in the photograph, hands in her lap, poised in an awkward position that seems unnatural, strange, perhaps even eerie. And you eventually see a story unfolding before you of a quiet childhood with a distant parent, an unrequited love, and precious moments of happiness glimmering in between.
Wandering and melancholic, each song on her latest album Magic Neighbor speaks in this same strangely intimate way, like a diary page read aloud. Germano sings almost as if she’s a young girl, alone in the corner of her room, creating lyrics to a meandering melody and humming to herself. Perhaps one of the more structured songs “A Million Times” beautifully depicts the path of a relationship as she recalls memories one after another. Germano sings of honest observations, blatantly saying, “We had more fun when we were strangers, as blind as blind can be.” Supported by minimal repetitive cords and percussion, she lays out, “A million times, we like to play the game all over, and when we’re done, we’ll start again.” With unforgiving candidness, Germano reveals the flaws and insecurities she harbors while in love, as if she never expected anyone besides herself to hear the song.
Peculiar instrumentals on various instruments including piano along with Germano’s half singing-half speaking style make the experience of listening to her music even more unique. Her music is painful and pleasing, comforting and disturbing, immediately memorable but only meaningful (and increasingly palatable) after a few listens. As a woman, she represents a feminine honesty and loquaciousness that could on the surface be perceived as trivial, but in essence is nothing of the sort. Like stumbling on an old photograph whose subject never knew they’d be viewed by a stranger’s eyes, Magic Neighbor draws the listener into Germano’s world and opens a window into the stories of another life.