Words by Russell Carstens

Holding true to a Twitter promise where he stated his goal was to release an album a year, Christopher Owens recently released the follow-up to last September’s A New Testament, titled Chrissybaby Forever. It’s the first record since Album made primarily by the small team of Owens and an engineer/producer.

The opening chords of “Another Loser F*** Up” are a jubilant tribute to the Girls breakout track “Lust For Life.” Owens has grown out of his melancholy and into optimism, and he won’t apologize for not living up to the hopes of those who wished for him to be another saint of sadness. Instead, Owens boldly declares, “Don’t be afraid to live / Don’t be afraid to die / Don’t be afraid to fail / Don’t be afraid to try,” before a celebratory guitar solo bursts with excitement. Later in the album, “Come On And Kiss Me” shows that Owen’s lust for life is stronger than ever.

The reggae-esque “Music Of My Heart” features underwater bass and a refreshingly stripped- down production — the antithesis of the grandiose sounds of Father, Son, Holy Ghost. On “Me Oh My” Owens combines a Transformer-era Lou Reed vocal delivery with cues from easy country melodies. But as snotty and raspy as Owens gets on “Selfish Feelings,” the song’s production leaves something to be desired — it’s as if someone forgot to step on the distortion pedal, and it lacks the drive the tune calls for.

“Heroine (Got Nothing On You)” has a serious Buddy Holly vibe, complete with vocal hiccups and a mouth-whistled solo. As the hook loops in lo-fi AM radio static, Owens ponders about how natural wonders of the world (“big sun in the big blue sky”) have nothing on his “heroine.”
The sincerity seeps from his voice on “What About Love,” reassuring those going through hard times that things will get better. A chorus of female vocals joins in, and it’s so convincingly beautiful that you’ll feel like a hippie who once believed love could change the world if everyone simply treated each other well.

Owens revisits dark times of his past on “Out Of Bed (Lazy Head)”, but as he’s done on several songs (e.g., “Hellhole Ratrace”) the chorus lyrics provide an antidote for the despair as he sings, “You can do it if you just get up and try.”

“When You Say I Love You” is a passionate ode to falling in love, and being the best partner one can be. Owens laments about how the world becomes a magical place during those enthralling times — it’s as touching as an early Beatles love song, and could be a hit on the high school prom circuit. “I Love You Like I Do” is another hypnotic and loopy song drenched in messages of peace and unconditional love: “The stars shine bright all night / I think of me and you / I think only of you / The whole day through / I’ve heard you wonder why / I love you like I do / I love you like I do / Because you’re you.” Its so sappy (yet earnest) that you want to weep.

“To Take Care Of Myself Again” is an ode to giving rather than taking, but if this was all Owens gave, his fans should be forever grateful. His music inspires us to be our best selves. He continues to build a solid foundation for a legacy on Chrissybaby Forever. Six albums in, his well is nowhere near dry. Keep ’em coming, please.

Christopher Owens
‘Chrissybaby Forever’
Turnstile Records
© June 2nd, 2015



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