It seems to be inevitable. The shelves are filled with the side projects and solo efforts that musicians roll out once thier band gets some recognition. Sicne they seem to blossom from inflated egos, it takes someone with a pretty grounded perspective and deep sense of humor to title his solo effort The Vanity Project
When you’re recording, you have to put a name on tapes, and I put that on jokingly at first,” says Page. “But I kept coming back to it, because I wanted to convey the fact that it’s not really a ‘band’ in the standard sense. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to have something I could be involved with, bringing in different people to collaborate from album to album. (Page’s myspace site)
An album of songs penned by Page and Steven Duffy, the album is a mixture of smart wit, humor, and profound lyrics, all of which drew me to Barenaked Ladies at first, and now makes The Vanity Project one of my most played CDs of late.
“So. Cal.” is one an example of Page at his best. He starts with well-dressed lyrics that sing of the despair and disappointment that come from chasing the LA dream. They are backed with a melody that is light, playful, and reminiscent of the beach movies of the sixties. It’s a brilliant contrast and very sing-able song.
In Contrast “That’s All, That’s All” is a soft ballad that wanes poetically about losing love. It’s one of those standards that you play over and over as you cry over losing the “great love” of your life. “the misery chords weep from a radio ignored,” not only speaks of the heartbreak, but shows just what a talented poet Page is.
The highlight of the album for me is “Thank You For Sharing.” The song is a classic example of Page lyrics at their best, edgy and sarcastic.
Thank you For Sharing your nightmare with me
Thank you for choosing to leave peacefully
Thank you for losing your last shred of dignity
Thank you for coming out. (lyricsmania)
Dark, twisted and bitter are the lyrics, but they are honest. They are emotions most of us have and words we’ve all liked to have said.
The Vanity Project isn’t like most of those side projects celebrities do. It is, in fact, a solid album of Steven Page at his best; music that is strong and lyrics that are meaningful. They can at times be a puzzle but are always poetic. The CD is available on Flaship Recordings.
Hit and Run
These Wasted Words
That’s All, That’s All
Everything’s the Same
Thank You For Sharing
Baby Loves the Radio
By the Roadside
So Young, So Wrong, So Long
Here Today and Yesterday