Jennifer O’Connor’s fifth album, I Want What You Want, almost didn’t get made.
After parting ways with Matador Records in the spring of 2009 after two albums (“Over The Mountain, Across The Valley, and Back to the Stars” in 2006, and “Here With Me” in 2008), O’Connor was discouraged, broke and exhausted from several years of non-stop touring. She put music on the back burner and worked a series of odd jobs: bartender on Broadway, freelance writer, transcriptionist, personal assistant, eBay seller, etc. Occasionally she would pick up her guitar and write a song about the confusing place she found herself in.
“I’ve always written about my life and the people close to me,” O’Connor said. “During the years I wrote this album, I was struggling and doing a lot of questioning about where I was and where I wanted to go moving forward. For a while, I wasn’t really sure if I would keep playing music.”
But O’Connor kept writing songs in fits and starts and eventually returned to the studio in November of 2010 to record a new song. “Swan Song (for Bella)” is an ode to perseverance, acceptance and starting over (all of which are overriding themes on I Want What You Want ) and has come to serve as the album’s centerpiece.