Sarah Jaffe: On Salvation And Selfishness

Great songwriters bring together two things listeners want most from music: the ability to relate to people's daily lives and the wisdom to express emotions in new and powerful ways. Young, virtually unknown Texas singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe passes both tests in the title track from her new Even Born Again EP, as she sings, "Be easy with your words and truth / If I'm lost with God, I'm lost with you."

Jaffe conflates the personal and the spiritual throughout "Even Born Again," singing, "And I would gladly die for you / selfishly but willingly." It's a powerful statement of devotion, but it's also a clever bit of self-analysis: She understands that memory, like salvation through death, often works only to serve oneself. One of the two parties involved has gone missing for all future events, so in essence the relationship has achieved the permanence that eluded it in life.

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This story originally ran on Aug. 21, 2008.

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