Big Intruder is an album about growing up and making adult decisions. The eleven tracks, which Jordan Klassen wrote and recorded in his own studio in Vancouver, venture away from the whimsical soundscapes of his past work and exude themes of growth and maturity, both in lyrics and sound.
The record was written as a deliberate reaction to Klassen's own inclinations in songwriting.
The singer-songwriter moniker has long caused him discomfort, as he felt that it connoted a very specific sound, namely “acoustic guitars and shitty coffee shops.” In past records such as Javelin (2016) and Repentance (2013), Klassen strived for a cinematic sound, avoiding drum kits and anything that sounded like a band. In Big Intruder, Klassen confronts those prejudices. He spent a lot of time listening to the greats—Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell—and broadened his own understanding of the singer-songwriter concept. Now, he sees it less as a specific sound, and more as the act of one person telling a story. The resulting songs are intimate and personal, guided by a sense of honesty and vulnerability.
The story Klassen tells is of his journey toward growing up and making serious commitments. Much of this is inspired by his own marriage this past year. The songs delve into this story, laying bare the doubts and anxieties that plague a relationship in “Too Far Gone,” a raw, earnest tune that depicts the battling emotions of love and fear, and the ultimate decision to make a commitment in spite of doubts. The record also makes a case for contentment found in the unspectacular. “The Same Thing Over and Over” celebrates satisfying repetition, a life that is predictable and unglamorous but filled with joy.
The Vancouver artist recorded and produced Big Intruder by himself in his studio, an artistic choice that has had a huge impact on the music. He was able to work at his own pace, taking time to ensure every aspect of the album works exactly the way he intended. There is an intentional rawness to the final result—an honest, vulnerable charm that matches the lyrical themes.
Klassen points to Sylvia Plath's famous Fig Tree quote from The Bell Jar as inspiration, both for the track “Sylvia Plath Girl” and the record as a whole. “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree,” Plath writes. “From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked…I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.” Big Intruder speaks to this dilemma; the overwhelming array of choices available in life, and the
doubt and caution that become excuses to avoid commitment.