Jay Som
Everybody Works
Mar 10, 2017

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  • #1 Paste (50 Best Albums of 2017)
  • #3 Paste (50 Best Songs of 2017 - “The Bus Song”)
  • #4 Newsweek (The 17 Best Albums of 2017)
  • #5 Digital Trends (50 best albums of 2017)
  • #7 Pitchfork (20 Best Rock Albums of 2017)
  • #7 Exclaim! (Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums)
  • #11 The 405 (Top 20 Songs of 2017 - “Baybee”)
  • #18 Side One Track One (Top 50 Songs Of 2017 - “Baybee”)
  • #20 Entertainment Weekly (25 Best Albums of 2017)
  • #20 Pretty Much Amazing (Best Albums of 2017)
  • #21 NPR (50 Best Albums Of 2017)
  • #23 Stereogum (50 Best Albums Of 2017)
  • #23 NPR (100 Best Songs Of 2017 - “The Bus Song”)
  • #25 Treble (Top 50 Albums of 2017)
  • #26 Pitchfork (50 Best Albums of 2017)
  • #29 Rolling Stone (50 Best Albums of 2017)
  • #40 NPR (Listeners’ 100 Favorite Albums of 2017)
  • #43 Pitchfork (100 Best Songs of 2017 - “The Bus Song”)
  • #46 Billboard (50 Best Albums of 2017: Critics’ Picks)
  • #48 Consequence of Sound (Top 50 Albums of 2017)
  • Esquire (2017’s best albums)
  • Hype Machine (50 Most Posted Artists of 2017)
  • Stereogum (80 Favorite Songs of 2017 - “The Bus Song” #1 via Peter Helman)

On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year's aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux—chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording—then the rising Oakland star's latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished.

Duterte is as DIY as ever—writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals—but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

And while Duterte's early stuff found her bucking against life's lows, Everybody Works is about turning that angst into fuel for forging ahead. "Last time I was angry at the world," she says. "This is a note to myself: everybody's trying their best on their own set of problems and goals. We're all working for something."

Everybody Works was made in three furious, caffeinated weeks in October. She came home from the road, moved into a new apartment, set up her bedroom studio (with room for a bed this time) and dove in. Duterte even ditched most of her demos, writing half the LP on the spot and making lushly composed pieces like "Lipstick Stains" all the more impressive. While the guitar-grinding Jay Som we first fell in love with still reigns on shoegazey shredders like "1 Billion Dogs" and in the melodic distortions of "Take It," we also get the sublimely spacious synth-pop beauty of "Remain," and the luxe, proggy funk of "One More Time, Please."

Duterte's production approach was inspired by the complexity of Tame Impala, the simplicity of Yo La Tengo, and the messiness of Pixies. "Also, I was listening to a lot of Carly Rae Jepsen to be quite honest," she says. "Her E•MO•TION album actually inspired a lot of the sounds on Everybody Works."

There's story in the sounds—even in the fact that Duterte's voice is more present than before. As for the lyrics, our host leaves the meaning to us. So if we can interpret, there's a bit about the aspirational and fleeting nature of love in the opener, and the oddity of turning your art into job on the titular track. There's even one tune, "The Bus Song," that seems to be written as a dialog between two kids, although it plays like vintage Broken Social Scene and likely has more to do with yearning for things out of reach.

While there's no obvious politics here, Duterte says witnessing the challenges facing women, people of color, and the queer community lit a fire. And when you reach the end of Everybody Works, "For Light," you'll find a mantra suitable for anyone trying, as Duterte says, "to find your peace even if it's not perfect." As her trusty trumpet blows, she sings: "I'll be right on time, open blinds for light, won't forget to climb."


  • 1
    Lipstick Stains (1:52)
  • 2
    The Bus Song (3:37)
  • 3
    Remain (2:19)
  • 4
    1 Billion Dogs (2:44)
  • 5
    One More Time, Please (3:42)
  • 6
    Baybee (3:45)
  • 7
    (BedHead) (3:26)
  • 8
    Take It (3:20)
  • 9
    Everybody Works (3:29)
  • 10
    For Light (7:23)


"Duterte plays all the instruments on Everybody Works, including some of the coolest psychedelic guitar solos recorded this decade, sometimes hidden within layers of jazzy, fuzzy counter-melody. The result feels personal and vulnerable and, above all, beautiful. And it’s our favorite album of 2017."


"An indie-pop breakthrough that feels like the first step on a long, winding road: Melina Duterte exudes charisma and utilizes the type of storytelling that can help project her intimate vocals on a wide screen -- assisted, of course, by some of the year's most aqueous, spellbinding guitar work. Everybody Works not only sparkles, but suggests a songwriter with a lot to say, and many more engrossing projects ahead of her."


"Throughout Jay Som's superb Everybody Works, Melina Duterte crafts breathless vocal melodies with jazz-inflected harmonies and cathartic bursts of noise that give her aching songs a frenetic crackle. That musical blend breathes life into Duterte's songwriting, particularly when capturing the transition from youth into adulthood with such personal specificity that her lyrics feels intimately familiar."


"Everybody Works can restore your faith in the future of indie rock. Part of that comes from its restless sound, an interplay between the chilly whispers of shoegaze and warm R&B-funk, packaged with lyrics that consider the benefits of patience in moments of pessimism. The album also feels like a thoroughly modern invention in its design: budget bedroom pop, with every part played and produced by Duterte, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it based on the record’s robust sound."


While Jay Som returns to the fuzzed-out guitars and yearning pop that has defined her earlier work, these new songs introduce an ever-expanding palette — shimmering and spacious synth-pop, glossy R&B and slinky, polyrhythmic funk.


"Everybody Works, Jay Som's fully-realized, proper debut is an incredibly vivid and articulate lo-fi pop album; from the tenderly intoxicating "(BedHead)" to the sleek "One More Time, Please," Duterte's introspective songwriting is refreshingly unpretentious yet aesthetically confident. She takes blurry snapshots of her life and washes over them with fuzzy distortion and blossoming guitar hooks, loosely banding the fragments together in a package that's somehow humble and sweeping."


“It’s exciting to listen to her music and know that you’re never going to hear the same thing twice.”


“If Turn Into was a collection of off-the-cuff musings by a musician still finding her place in the world, then Everybody Works is the confident, multi-faceted work of an artist with something real and true to tell the world.”

Consequence of Sound

"Though Jay Som's intonation is tender, ‘The Bus Song,’ her new one, is fierce — and ultra-catchy."


"[‘The Bus Song’] sounds like an artist who isn’t just comfortable with their sound, but confident in it—confident that this is the music they should be making at this moment in time. That kind of energy is so often what can lead an artist to greater success, and if this track is any indication, Duterte has it in spades."


“Duterte’s quick ascent is a strong indication of both her talent and her growing importance to the West Coast music scene.”


“A nice dose of the kind of sensitive-sounding, lyrically honest indie rock that made early Death Cab and The Execution of All Things-era Rilo Kiley so addictive. Don’t let that make you think it’s too precious or anything though; it ends with a noisy, grungy guitar explosion”

Brooklyn Vegan
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  • The Bus Song (3:37)
    Michelle Zauner
  • One More Time, Please (3:36)
    Christopher Good
  • Baybee (3:44)
    Charlotte Hornsby and Jesse Ruuttila

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