Chris Farren – ‘Can’t Die’ Review

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Today is September 2nd 2016, and it’s officially Chris Farren Record Release Day. The Internet-Dot-Com is flooded with positivity – praises, signed headshots, dancing Navi, all celebrating a collection of songs called Can’t Die. Fans are losing their minds. Babies are being conceived. Somewhere, punk celebrity/non-paranomal entity Chris Farren is checking his email.

Can’t Die is Farren’s first solo LP, and one you shouldn’t ignore. The record approaches themes of mental health, loneliness, and self-love with candor. It’s refreshing to dig into a record that echoes the constant battles that I and so many I know face on a daily basis. How many artists are writing openly about the struggles of personal growth in your twenties? These are anthems for the anxious, confused, and optimistic – drenched with robust synths, catchy hooks and percussive grooves. Even in the record’s quieter moments, Farren’s tunes put considerable range on display, especially as a solo artist. My biggest complaint is that there aren’t more songs. I can’t get enough.

Complimented by a fantastic campaign/rollout by SideOneDummy, these songs are bound to resonate with new fans at live shows. I had the pleasure of catching Chris Farren’s set at the Wrecking Ball last month. I was immediately blown away by how crisp each new song sounded. His live presence had an unbridled energy. The crowd was overwhelmingly positive. Farren is, by all means, a showman – adding a breath of fresh spectacle to his art both in-person and online. His bravado paired with such introspective and self-aware songs makes for a great show. Every layer you’ll hear on this album is represented in his live set. No matter how dulcet or scorching the note, it’s all there. These are the feats not of a superhero, but of a seasoned musician in prime form. He is a human being, and most importantly, he is not a ghost.

Photo Credit: Emily Dubin (1,4) and Brooke Marsh (2,3,5)

While “Human Being” and “Say U Want Me” are certified bangers, my hands-down favorite track is the poignant album-closer “Until I Can See The Light”. The ballad finds Farren recalling the moment he found out a friend passed away, and how confronting living through death changed him. Last year, a close friend of mine died in a car accident, and I still remember the moment I got the call. I remember immediately accepting and confronting my own death. This song captures that realization with grace. It may be selfish, but I feel like one of my favorite artists wrote a song just for me, and that connection is truly a gift. I believe artists live on forever through the work we leave behind. If Chris Farren can make a personal connection through his work with just one fan, he truly can’t die. Mission accomplished.

If you’re a fan of Chris Farren’s other projects (the incomparable power-pop outfit Antarctigo Vespucci w/ Jeff Rosenstock, or his previous indie-rock band Fake Problems), you’ll love Can’t Die. If you hate anything whatsoever, you’ll still love Can’t Die. If you’re a ghost (which means you’re not Chris Farren), you’ll definitely love Can’t Die.

Having fun (and making fun music!) is punk. Celebrating yourself is revolutionary. Openly and healthily discussing your fears is radical. On all three counts, Chris Farren excels. Can’t Die is his most impressive and memorable outing yet. Music is so much brighter when he’s around.


FFO: Jeff Rosenstock, having a great time, Ghostbusters

Favorite Tracks: ”Until I Can See The Light”, “Human Being”, “Say U Want Me”, “To Insecurity and Beyond!”

Catch him on his upcoming tour with AJJ!

Purchase Can’t Die here via SideOneDummy Records