Monday, August 29, 2016

Chris Staples -- Golden Age

Bill Waterson once famously noted that "People who get nostalgia about childhood were obviously never children." Chris Staples (not to be confused with Chris Stapleton) seems to have applied that maxim to early adulthood in Golden Age (thus concluding our series Your Twenties Are a Motherfucker But It Probably Gets Worse.) I don't often write about this kind of music on Adobe & Teardrops, much less listen to it. It falls pretty squarely into what Two Cow Garage describes as "apathetic melancholy."

But I can say for sure that the album resonates with me in a lot of ways. It underscores that this is a difficult time of life, even though people remember it fondly. More importantly, Staples wrote the album after a number of jarring life changes. Golden Age is a catalog of that "before" period -- and a fond farewell to them. It's about making sure you don't falsely remember a happier time, and about positioning yourself to move on.

These songs are minimalist -- a drum machine, maybe three other instruments. But the lyrics are dense, so this dichotomy is effective. Staples' hushed monotone creates images out of thin air; the music seems to exist solely to soften the blow when these words -- which feel like they could be spoken-word performances -- land. Golden Age pours soul and emotion into what I find to be an otherwise vapid style of music. For that reason, Golden Age is one of my favorite albums of the year.

Chris Staples -- Official, Facebook, Purchase from Barsuk Records

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