Jeen O’Brien is a Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has written songs for a lengthy list of recording artists, and as a solo artist, performing under the mononym Jeen, O’Brien has written songs used in ad campaigns for Google, Panasonic, Estée Lauder, Kraft, BlackBerry, KIA, Rogers, Mastercard and Molson, as well as TV shows like Republic of Doyle, Instant Star, Ruby Gloom, Degrassi, Hockey Wives, Killjoys, Workin’ Moms, Catfish, Are You the One and the major motion picture Cook Off. In addition to her solo work, O’Brien is a member of Cookie Duster with Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning.
O’Brien’s newest full-length album, the Ian Blurton co-produced Dog Bite is slated for an October 2021 release — and along with the album announcement, the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer released a double single, “Better Drugs”/”Fair to Move On.” Because of time considerations on my end, I’m choosing to write about one single: “Better Drugs,” a grungy bit of power pop centered around crunchy guitar lines, O’Brien’s Liz Phair-lke delivery and a rousingly anthemic hook. Although sonically bringing 90s alt rock and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind, the song as the Canadian artist explains explores our desire to constantly seek something better while being directly influenced by the events of 2020 — both socially and personally: “I wrote ‘Better Drugs’ eight months after watching the world burn, with everything so exposed and gross. Like we had all lost too many pieces of ourselves to put back together or something…I wondered how fundamental it was, like how broken are we, you know? On top of that, I had a very sudden death in the family 48 hours before we went into the studio to record.
“This kind of raw disconnect leads to all the problems especially if you’ve lost connection with yourself…so with all that fell away last year, I found myself pathetically grateful for the few people I still had around me.”