“Chris Glover” can sing, rap and play any instrument he picks up. He writes songs, samples sounds and produces his own tracks. He’s 23 years-old and from Manhattan. His debut, Hell Isn’t Even That Funny, shrugs off ideas about genre: it’s not enough of any one thing and too much of everything. The songs bang like hip-hop beats and have melodies as pure as any pop song that’s lodged in your head for days.
On Hell Isn’t Even That Funny, that music extends from the perfect collage of “Stand On Your Seat,” with its melodic rap and soaring chorus buttressed by Temptations horns, to the unflaggingly catchy “Something You Already Knew” and the avant beats and pure pop hooks of “Pinocchio.” There’s also “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Change,” with its rapid-fire flow and achingly beautiful breakdown, the sweeping “Never So Far Away” and “Holy Moses,” which begins with Chris’s own Ladysmith Black Mambazo-inspired five-part harmony, and the delicious downer “We Don’t Care.”
“The thing that I guess makes my music a little different,” Chris says, “is that I take an idea and turn it into a different kind of song than it should be turned into. The melody of “Stand On Your Seat” could’ve been a country song, but instead I made it a beat and rapped on it. I don’t like a song to make sense within itself.”
“Stand On Your Seat” sports a chorus – “if y’all don’t want it y’all don’t need it / if y’all could stand it, y’all are seated” – that’s both anthemic and inscrutable. “If you can stand how the way things are going, you’re just sitting down and watching it happen and not taking charge and trying to change it,” he says of the lyric, but cautions against assigning the song a definite theme: “There’s a lot of metaphorical, poetic things going on.”
All of his songs get turned over, in his computer or in his brain, until the sounds and words collide into a kind of truth. “Something You Already Knew,” he explains, “Is a song that’s been revisited. I made the song three years ago, but then I basically made it over again. I used to play it on guitar, but I took Marvin Gaye horns and had those play what I used to play on guitar, which made it more satisfying to me. It just shows that a song is a song; it just depends on what you want to do.”
The songs on Hell Isn’t Even That Funny are from the “100 or 200” Chris estimates he’s written “after a certain time when I started getting good.” He figures he wrote a couple hundred before that, just figuring things out. What makes these songs different than the rest? “They have a good melody and I worked really hard on making the arrangements and productions really complex and working many, many hours on the lyrics,” he explains.
“It’s a lot of work because I make it a lot of work,” he continues, “because I’m trying to make a flawless little gem, where every line is a good line. Every line could come in a little fortune cookie.”
Those lyrics are observational more than personal. “I don’t just write about girls,” he says. The words are both tongue-in-cheek and insightful, driven by what Chris sees as people’s reluctance to be themselves.
“I just wish people would be more present, real. I’d love it if when I walk out into the street everyone is jumping around yelling like five year olds. That would be my ideal world. If you’re not acting like a little kid, I think in a way you’re being fake.”
It’s hard to say where it all started, this crazy creativity born equally of frustration and ambition. You could say that it started when he was ten years old, drawing album covers at a borrowed desk at his mom’s work. Or that it started when he sang 3 hours a day in a junior high gospel choir beside Alicia Keys at the New York’s Professional Performing Arts School. (“That’s where I got some soul in my voice,” he says.) Or when he was taking a train out to Long Island every weekend for three years to rehearse with a punk band formed with some kids he met at camp. Maybe it started when he lost – “singing some awful song” – as a 12 year-old on Star Search.
“I lost to a girl who looked like Barbie,” he says of his Star Search experience. “She was younger than me but a lot taller and had big hair. I didn’t care. I was and still am undeterred by things that happen around me. Like when something goes wrong, I don’t really care.”
And then there’s the city he grew up in. “Desire and ambition, wanting to be the best — I think NY did that. Just walking around the streets, seeing a famous person everyday and being like, ‘I can do that. It’s not so hard.’ I see it everyday, people doing what I want to do… yeah”
And now, “Chris Glover” is doing it.
Edited by nicksfix on 7 Dec 2006, 19:49
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