Album Review: Chris Farren – ‘Born Hot’
Posted: by The Editor
Chris Farren can commit to a bit. He didn’t halt at naming his record Born Hot. He foreshadowed the release with a billboard display of an illustration of him posing shirtless, accompanied by a hotline number, aptly dubbed the “born hotline”. The record’s merchandise collection included items adjacent to heat, like oven mitts and a coffee mug that changes color when filled with a warm liquid.
But the “born hot” tagline is just a costume. Farren isn’t really that full of himself. His self perception is so distorted and dreary, in fact, that the prospect of being exceptional feels like a fantasy for him, “What if I was amazing?”, and reciprocal adoration elicits perplexion, “I know you love me, but I do not know why”. He’s not exactly riled up – about himself or in general. In “Bizzy,” he describes how depression can leave him feeling bereft of energy and emotion. He offers specifics on what makes him feel this glum on other tracks, like “Surrender,” which is about a romantic decoupling that led to the subsequent loss of a fulfilling friendship, and “Search 4 Me,” a meditation on disassociation and the fear of being swallowed by the ubiquity of technology. Farren is also addled by anxiety, which results in him eschewing socialization and overthinking the minutiae of his life.
It’s a damper of a record, but it doesn’t sound that way. Born Hot seeks to emulsify dour themes with vibrant, rousing beats. Parallels can be drawn between this record and Paramore’s After Laughter, as both projects doused dread with a springy, chipper sound to make it more palatable. The melodies on Farren’s record feel precisely and ornately crafted, each one providing the infrastructure for a certain aura, whether exuberant or coasting. The jubilant backing on “Does the Good Outweigh the Bad” could double as the theme song to a show on the Disney channel, and “Too Dark” features a lazily paced piano piece that sounds tailored to a monologue in a musical. “Space in Yr Love” borrows from the ‘70s-esqe disco-dancing glimmer. Standout track “Floruit de Maga” features the record’s most driving rhythm, riddled with groove and crunch.
Born Hot could very well be perceived as glib, for some may feel that topics that hold that much weight should be expressed less offhandedly. But this record is moreso an acknowledgement of one’s dilemmas than a solution to them. Ultimately, someone is more inclined to make headway in alleviating their mental health woes by determining root causes and examining cognitive processes than by shrugging and meme-ifying them. Still, it can be relieving to trek through hardships by way of lightheartedness – and maybe bust a move along the way.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
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