Josienne Clarke today has unveiled her tender new single “Words Were Never The Answer,” the latest preview of her forthcoming album Onliness (songs of solitude and singularity) due out on April 14th via Corduroy Punk Records.
Anchored by a gently-plucked arpeggio, the bittersweet folk song is one of her newest compositions and Clarke introduces it as “the sum total of everything that I’ve learned” as she sings of the power in letting go. “Nothing can be achieved with just melody and sentences, however well you structure them,” she explains. “You only ever make pretty shapes with pain and the best you can hope for is that it resonates somehow with someone else in some way. It’s not intended to be as bleak as that sounds; I’m making light of the foolish grandiosity that drives artistic endeavor and–to be honest–in an industry that’s often so hostile a landscape to the artist we need that kind of motivation, as ‘meaninglessly lovely’ as it is.”
Written, arranged, and produced entirely by Clarke, Onliness is the follow-up to 2021’s A Small Unknowable Thing – her first LP released via her own label – and presents a career retrospective viewed through new eyes and ears. The 17-song set arrives about five years after she left her contract with Rough Trade Records and is ultimately a striking overview of an artist who has beautifully traversed their own path, no matter how rocky it became. Throughout the process, Josienne was clear that she wanted the album to work on its own terms, that it could stand tall as a brand new chapter even to those unfamiliar with the initial recordings. She also wanted to approach each new song as a singular exercise, to follow the instincts that she’s honed over the past few years.
The LP takes its title from a word Josienne thought she’d invented, only later to find it already exists. Onliness: the fact or condition of being alone. “It means both solitude and singularity; being one of a kind, but also alone in the sense that you are apart from other things,” Josienne says of the title’s meaning. “So, it has both a positive connotation and a really melancholic one–and I feel like that fits every song that I’ve ever written.”