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In “Mondegreens,” Rachel Garlin Teaches Us Patience and Grace

By Rachel Cholst

Rachel Garlin. photo: Irene Young

Here’s the short version: Rachel Garlin’s Mondegreens is the album you need to be listening to right now.

Once you finish with the new Fiona, Mondegreens is a sort of flip side to the coin. This is not to compare, but I listened to one after the other and it was a revelation of a combo. Mondegreens is an album of strength, grace, and persistence, a balm for the chaotic anger and sadness we are collectively experiencing.

Garlin is an accomplished storyteller, with a truly literary sensibility. Whether she’s framing a song of new love around an old photo booth or inviting us to picture ourselves in the California countryside, Garlin has a consummate command of the English language, crafting images of a carefully observed life. 

The album lives comfortably between folk, country, and pop, with instrumentation sparse enough to let us fill in our own blanks. We’re carried along by the gentle and inexorable force of Garlin’s voice, which has a comfortable, lived-in texture. These songs come from a place of contentment, even as they ask the biggest questions.

Most importantly, Mondegreens reminds us to be patient. If we could all rise to Garlin’s powers of observations, if we could accept the inevitability of change, perhaps we too could move through life with the contentment she teaches us here.