Words About Music
S “Cool Choices”
One of my favorite incredibly depressing bands is Carissa’s Wierd, a now-defunct Seattle outfit that combined emo and shoegaze to bring new depths to slowcore, a genre pioneered by the likes of Low and Codeine. The music of this band is a deep well of sadness that can best be described as a black hole or a void. While they are no more, members of the band have gone on to form other successful musical acts, including beloved indie-folk-rock group Band of Horses. Jenn Ghetto, the band’s female voice, however, started her own ungoogleable solo project, simply titled S. “Cool Choices” is the fourth in a series of lower-fidelity and incredibly sad albums from S, and it’s arguably the best and most coherent.
Where the music of Carrisa’s Wierd was often layered and musically dense, the music of S is much simpler, so to speak. Guitar, bass, drums, occasional piano, verse, chorus, verse. And that’s not a bad thing. It makes it easier to focus on the harrowing lyricism. Sure, a lot of it relies on existential crises based around breakups and unrequited feelings of love, but it works for the autumn season. And as a teenage boy who eats that kind of thing up, the music on here fits into my ever-expanding list of beloved sad music. It takes contemporary emo music back to a less convoluted and more clean sound.
Now with the cohesion comes of course the negative side. It tends to get a bit samey towards the second half of the record. The first half is nearly flawless to me, but as track 7 rolls around, I tend to space out until near the end of the album where things pick up again. “Cool Choices” isn’t a perfect album. It’s hard to maintain an entire theme or sound for an album and keep it interesting. And for the most part, S does that. She portrays emotion in very engaging and intriguing ways. But sometimes she doesn’t.
Overall, “Cool Choices” is a cool album that is perfect for the depressing months ahead. Being from Seattle, Ghetto knows how to sync emotions to climate, and here in Seattle it tends to get pretty chilly and cloudy around this time. While it doesn’t entirely live up to the amazing records Carissa’s Wierd put out back in the day, there are great songs on here for very specific moods. There’s a time and place for this album to be phenomenal, but from a semi-objective standpoint, it’s just quite good.
SCORE – 7.5
FAVORITE TRACKS – Losers, Like Gangbusters!, Vampires, White House, Brunch, Tell Me, Muffin, Balderdash