The first thing that got my attention when I started listening to Jen Fellman’s album ‘Forbidden Drive’ was her version of ‘Happiness,’ from Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. She does this duet with another woman. I always thought of this song as such a representation of queer love, and thought Fellman was most insightful interpreting a such. I was mesmerized by her version and started playing the track over and over.
The rest of the album is just as good. She has very thoughtful arrangements of a great collection of songs. There is a very contemplative ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well,’ which is underscored by ‘It Might As Well Be Spring.’ I also like she does lesser-heard songs like Jerry Herman’s ‘Wherever He Ain’t’ and ‘I Win’t Send Roses,’ and these are my two favorite Herman songs. I like her mostly unsentimental version of the latter, with a more urgent tempo. Fellman lived in Paris and I appreciated her French chansons, and I know she gives good character because she knows how to sing Peggy Lee’s ‘Golden Earrings..’ All I know is that I keep on discovering new layers whenever I hear songs from this album, so I will keep on listening.