Somethingpet - June Henry

Antifolk as a genre has always been about lyrics over refined instrumentals, with June Henry's newest album somethingpet having some outstanding showcases of the genre's strengths while also occasionally falling for some of its biggest weaknesses.

Released last year on July 18th, somethingpet is a collection of songs June Henry was working on around the release of her first two albums somethingfriend and class pet that until now never saw the light of day. It includes demos/alternate versions of songs from both albums and new ones that evidently carry the same themes. Although it might seem like an odd idea, both albums were about self-identity from a trans perspective, the pains of young adult relationships, and the struggles of mental health making for an album that largely feels complete despite its raw nature.

For the most part, the nature of the album adds to its appeal. The best example of this comes from the highlight of the album, “thruline.” The song only uses a few cords but is an evocative reflection on June Henry's past relationships and the similarities between them. After establishing these through lines the song touches on how they've altered her self-worth as a person in a way that many will relate to.

Somethingpet isn't depressing though. Even the more somber songs like “thruline”, “baby teeth”, or “i think i want 2 be different (i have 2 be okay)” aren't afraid to have comedic parts that wonderfully walk the line of preserving the emotions felt by June Henry while still making the audience feel something other than sadness. The extreme of this comes with “applevsfortnite.m4a” and “void-adjacent - mouse death version.” The former has the feeling of being written and recorded in one afternoon but is so clearly made for the enjoyment of June Henry and her friend that it becomes contagious. The latter “void-adjacent - mouse death version” is one of the demos on the album that at first seems just like an untouched version of the finished song until June Henry gets interrupted by her roommate in a comedic manner.

Unfortunately, this is the only demo on the album that feels warranted. Coming at the end, it feels like a fun nod to her fans, with “void-adjacent” being her most popular song. The other demos, although a good listen, are just high-fidelity versions of their finished counterpart with occasionally a verse or two missing making them interesting but feel like they would've been better suited uploaded elsewhere.

Somethingpet doesn't make an attempt to appeal to listeners who don't enjoy the antifolk genre. Jamie's voice is unapologetically off-kilter and her guitar playing is by no means impressive. Even the nature of the album itself being a collection of unreleased songs, adds to this feeling. But despite being previously unreleased, most of the songs still feel complete, although the ones that don't are definitely the low point of the album. Even with these low points, the album is still an emotional rollercoaster that fans of the antifolk genre should listen to.