Yes baby, yes yes baby. Chris Farren’s full length debut album, baby come on!
It’s true: the inevitable has happened. After a few years of releasing solo splits and EPs (and a Christmas album), and becoming an innovative fashion designer (did you see Will Smith receive a “The Smiths” shirt on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon?) as well as being one half of the perfect friendship/power-pop duo Antarctigo Vespucci, dear friend and punk celebrity Chris Farren has finally released Can’t Die, his proper full length solo album. Allegedly influenced by the realization that death isn’t just something that happens to other people, and he will, in fact, one day die, Can’t Die is the most fun funeral soundtrack you’ll ever hear.
Anyone who has been keeping up with Farren’s music over the last few years won’t be surprised by the pop-heavy direction he takes on Can’t Die. Since the last Fake Problems album, Farren has become somewhat of a master pop songwriter (and even back then he was writing songs like “Soulless,” a prototype of the mega anthemic hits he churns out today) and the songs that make up Can’t Die are no exception. It finds a balance between everything that Farren has done over the past several years- some tracks are more Vespuccian than others (“Human Being,” “Everything’s My Fault”), while others feel like secular gifts from God (or whatever) (“Brighter,” “Flowers”) but all the way through the album screams “Chris Farren.” There are even a few tracks that mostly serve as transitional pieces between songs much like “IV” or “Chris Farren’s Disney’s Frozen” have done on previous releases.
Can’t Die is light and breezy, particularly for an album rooted in the fear of death. The result is a rather optimistic listen; one that can, and should be, enjoyed several times over to fully take in everything. With his main project having fallen into some kind of limbo (Strange Emotions was great but where’s the follow-up?), we should only be so lucky that Farren has continued to make music. It’s almost like one could say that he’s turned his lack of a band into some kind of a non-problem.
4 / 5
RIYL: Jeff Rosenstock, Allison Weiss, MouseRat