The Joplin Effect
Written by: Miss K
It is nearly unfathomable to find the words to describe the experience one is transported and transformed by when a Janis Joplin album is on. The emotions one travels through are simply powerful: a glistening longing for heartbreak burned by the very same aspect of what is in one’s soul. There is a great affection, adoration, and admiration for Miss Joplin. Personally, there will never be a singer as powerful as Janis Joplin due to what I dubbed the Joplin Effect.
Listen to ‘Cry Baby’ and try to convince me Joplin is not pouring her soul, her everything, into the song. Try to convince me it does not touch you to the bone, bury itself between your heartstrings, and enter into your soul. You simply cannot. The simple yet powerful backing of drums and keys exemplify Joplin’s power. You feel love, pain, and heartbreak all in just a few simple notes. You feel life; you feel memory. You feel this strange, peculiar, powerful emotion that is the Joplin Effect. You feel affection and sympathy all because of Joplin’s delivery.
She is a storyteller of stardust, where heartbreak lingers long and present in her voice. Her storytelling of song reaches inside of you and pulls, tugs, knows. She is the voice of heartbreak, and the foundation of blues is heartbreak and misery. Joplin relates to her audience through her authenticity, her experiences in that wonderful raspy emotional voice which can roar and howl with pain and emotion but still draw back and be as gentle as the first dandelion of spring.
‘Cry Baby’ exhibits both sides of the brilliant Janis Joplin. But it is only one exhibition of the Joplin Effect – an emotion, an experience, that is present many, many times over in her much too short career.
Despite leaving this world physically almost fifty years ago, Janis Joplin lives on in her music perhaps more vigorously than before. Her career was only four years long, but her legacy is forever. The emotions she felt are eternal. Heartbreak and the blues are eternally connected and intertwined. From the very first minute I heard Janis sing, I knew it was like nothing I heard before. It will remain a unique experience that I will never feel again. The Joplin Effect is ubiquitous and compelling. It is an emotion, an experience, but most of all it tells of a legend, the legend of the great Janis Joplin.