Chris Arey on
News flash: doing the bare minimum is not enough, or so Florida-born, L.A.-based songwriter Chris Farren says in his latest single, “First Place.”
Despite its pop and good-time vibes, “First Place” is a track that explores a feeling of inadequacy and a fear of losing the love of someone who once cherished you. You wouldn’t guess that though judging by the goofy, lighthearted video that accompanies it. The song is the third single from Farren’s newest record, “Doom Singer,” which hit major streaming services in August.
“Doom Singer” is the follow-up to the 2019 “Born Hot” album and Farren’s second full-length release with Polyvinyl Records. And unlike Farren’s previous four albums, “Doom Singer” is very much the culmination of collaborative efforts. In fact, every song on the 10-track album includes live drums by Frankie Impastato, Farren’s new bandmate. The album also features occasional bass and saxophone contributions from Jeff Rosenstock.
As if those details weren’t convincing enough that Farren is approaching music with a new, group-effort perspective, “Doom Singer” also came into existence under the guidance of Melina Duterte, aka Jay Som. Over the span of nearly three years, Duterte produced, engineered and mixed the album in her Atwater Village studio.
What makes “Doom Singer” so interesting though, is the range of styles it covers. From the poppy beats in “First Place,” to the album’s rockin’ alternative opener, “Bluish,” and the emotional grit on the closing “Cosmic Leash,” Farren covers a lot of ground in the collection of tunes that is “Doom Singer.”
The same is true lyrically, with many of the songs capturing a variety of feelings. “Bluish,” for example displays a deep sense of dependence on someone, craving for a sense of belonging and stability. And the driving “Cosmic Leash,” explores themes of self-discovery and longing. As for the source of inspiration for these songs? It’s not clear. But judging from Farren’s past approach to songwriting, which he describes as a “doubt-ridden process,” one could presume that these songs are some sort of commentary on the creative process of his earlier endeavors.
||| Watch: The videos for “First Place,” “Bluish” and “Cosmic Leash”
||| Also: Stream “Doom Singer” in its entirety
||| Live: Chris Farren plays along with Guppy at El Cid on Sept. 25. Tickets.