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Music Review: Chris Garneau – El Radio

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I 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 hear.

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.

Chris GarneauOn 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 train-wreck. Chris, I think we need to take a break, at least for a little while.

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About Tan The Man

A proud dork and loser, Tan The Man writes mostly about film and music, and has previously covered the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, South By Southwest and WonderCon.