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Zara McFarlane: A Rocky Emotional Ride

Bypassing vocal histrionics, Zara McFarlane takes a suspenseful route in "More Than Mine (Alternate Take)."
Courtesy of the artist
Bypassing vocal histrionics, Zara McFarlane takes a suspenseful route in "More Than Mine (Alternate Take)."

Shifting from self-deprecation to self-affirmation after being jilted for someone else is a rocky emotional ride, but it's a rewarding and important one. British jazz sensation Zara McFarlane articulates the process marvelously in "More Than Mine."

Rather than burst out with vocal histrionics like too many wronged divas, McFarlane takes a more suspenseful route. Her crystalline voice initially evokes a sense of meekness, as she compares her physical attributes to those of the other woman over Peter Edwards' forlorn piano motif. Here, McFarlane lists the her rival's superior attributes — fuller lips and longer hair, among others.

After the horn section blows a brief section of dissonant blues, McFarlane reappears, more assertive and assured. She continues to list the new flame's charms, but with a mocking tone. Suddenly, they seem shallow next to McFarlane, who sings, "No warmth could be much sweeter / No love could be much deeper / No heart could be much weaker than mine."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for BETJazz.com. He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.