Chris Garneau – El Radio (2009)

Chris Garneau - El RadioI would be shocked if singer-songwriter Chris Garneau‘s music hasn’t already been featured on Scrubs. If it hasn’t, then I expect the Boston-native to be heard at least once during the show’s upcoming ninth season.

And no, that wasn’t a plug for a show that over the years has disappointed me greatly, but that should serve as a quick and dirty reference to the kind of music a potential first-time listener should expect to listen to.

However, if that serves as a deterrent, then I will apologize in advance to Mr. Garneau. I was only trying to help.

I’ll try another one.

On El Radio (the follow-up to his debut Music For Tourists), Garneau channels the quirkiness of Andrew Bird with the delicate decoration of The Decemberists. I hope that works.

The aforementioned stylings happen with a relative calm that at times might seem a little too unstressed, while at other times seem rather dour — I have yet to fully absorb the opening “The Leaving Song” and all of its despondency. “Dirty Night Clown” (even with its higher tempo) somehow continues the not-so-upbeat mood.

I had trouble pinpointing my exact emotional response that resulted after the many full repeats of El Radio. Did I feel upset? Not really. Did I feel depressed? Nuh-uh. It wasn’t until another listen of the ballad “Hands On The Radio” that I realized Garneau had put me into a perpetual state of vulnerability. The playful “No More Pirates” and the Nellie McKay-like “Fireflies” somewhat alleviated the tension, but there was no use in denying that I needed a hug — badly.

I desperately wanted to be held by someone who loved me for me. I know this wasn’t a Kelly Clarkson album, but I still felt like I was falling without a parachute or like I was Maverick without Goose in the second act of Top Gun.

After the somber “Cats And Kids”, I officially felt as if Manny Pacquiao had punched me in the gut. It was too much. Life is too much. The “Black Hawk Waltz” can’t stop this emotional trainwreck. Chris, I think we need to take a break, at least for a little while.

Chris Garneau

Chris Garneau

Chris Garneau

[photos via Tell All Your Friends]

Track list:

    1. The Leaving Song
    2. Dirty Night Clowns
    3. Raw And Awake
    4. Hands On The Radio
    5. No More Pirates
    6. Fireflies
    7. Home Town Girls
    8. Over And Over
    9. Cats And Kids
    10. Les Lucioles En Re Mineur
    11. Things She Said
    12. Pirates Reprise
    13. Black Hawk Waltz

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