Chris Farren, best known as one-fourth of indie band Fake Problems and one-half of rock duo Antarctigo Vespucci, is gearing up to release his debut solo album Can’t Die, and Paste has an exclusive stream of the record before its release.
According to Farren, Can’t Die was inspired by Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian and Magnetic Fields, and was his attempt to make “something that was poppier and a little less aggressive, but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, there’s some sadness involved but I didn’t want it to be a bummer to listen to.” Like the title would suggest, the album focuses on the concept of death quite heavily. Farren said, “Until I was 25 or something, I had like heard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something just clicked in my head. I was like,‘Oh, I’m definitely going to die’ and I had a crazy hard time with it for some reason.”
Farren is will be performing live with Brian Fallon on Sept. 6 and 7, and with Modern Baseball on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, before going on tour with AJJ starting Oct. 14. You can find Farren’s full tour schedule here.
Can’t Die is available for preorder at chrisfarren.com or on iTunes. The album is also available on vinyl via SideOneDummy. Can’t Die will be released this Friday, Sept. 2. Find the album and an accompanying Farren-penned, track-by-track breakdown below.
Can’t Die the song is kind of a personal affirmation, a rallying call for myself. I’ve spent a lot of time in my own head thinking about every wrong turn I’ve made, and this song is about snapping out of it, moving forward and carrying on. The whole record is kind of a message to myself to get out of my own way. I should also note that a lot of people have been claiming I am some sort of ghost or undead spirit pretending to be a living human and that is something I want to put to rest right here on internet Paste that I am a normal living boy who has never died or made some sort of “deal with the devil” to “come back” to the world of the living.
I always, always, always feel like a weirdo and outsider at parties and big social situations. It makes me feel super anxious and I can’t connect to it in any way – which leads me to seclude myself in my house most nights. But after awhile the seclusion starts to get to me in it’s own way, and I feel a need to connect with real human people. This song is about the friction of that conflict. Always wanting to be somewhere else but as soon as you get there you want to leave. Which, by the way, is something a ghost wouldn’t feel like I bet because ghosts can probably do anything they want and are not trapped against their will on earth because of a bad deal they made with Satan or anything weird like that.
I’ve dealt with some pretty heavy depression and anxiety for a few years now, and aside from the therapy and medication, the main thing that keeps me alive and moving is my wife. I don’t really write straight-forward sincere love songs too often, but this one just kind of came out one day and I couldn’t get away from it. My wife is also not a ghost and I mean, sure, if I WAS a ghost she would probably still love me, but she knows I’m not a ghost and she is also not a ghost and we definitely never died.
“To Insecurity & Beyond”
I got this crazy little synth called a pocket piano for Christmas and I wrote this song on it immediately. The lyrics are about the moment of your life when you realize the entire earth actually doesn’t revolve around you, and that everyone is sad and dealing with it in their own way, and I hate to keep harping on this but that is another thing that is very specific to humans and not ghosts. Kind of just some more proof that I’m a human and not a ghost in any way.
“Say U Want Me”
Say U Want Me is sort of a torch song without a break-up. It’s a song about feeling insecure and needy, even in the midst of a perfect relationship, and how it can be unfair to your partner to burden them with your constant need for reassurance and validation. A friend of mine referred to this song as “anxiety in music form”. Also I’m not a ghost.
A good friend of mine and I had sort of a falling out a few years ago, when he quit the band we had started together and worked on since we were teenagers. I was really unjustly resentful towards him and we stopped talking for a good amount of time. I tried to kind of power ahead as if nothing was wrong but that kind of made other aspects of my life fall apart. It took a long time for me to accept it. Thankfully once I did we were able to reconnect over music again. He plays guitar on pretty much every song on this record. And by the way if I were a ghost could I type on a computer? I don’t think so!
“I’m Not You”
This song is about being in a relationship with someone who is dealing with their own battles of depression and/or anxiety, and wanting so badly to be able to help and fix it but ultimately fall short. It’s a scary thing to feel powerless in helping someone you love (not because you are a ghost, just because of the nature of human brains and such), and it sometimes feels even scarier when you simply can’t relate to them. The audio you can hear in the right side of this song is a field recording of my wife and I on our honeymoon in Iceland. We’re walking around at night, it’s pitch black, and she’s trying to point out the milky way to me, but I can’t see it.
I heard PJ Harvey’s “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” and wanted to write a song like it, and this came out. It ended up sounding nothing like it. Lyrically it’s about getting out of a relationship and diving right into another and over and over again, each time claiming this is “THE ONE” and it’s mostly about how you need to love your damn self before you can be in an actual good relationship with a fellow non-ghost human like yourself.
“Everything’s My Fault”
This song is about growing apart from a friend, and making an effort only to be met with the realization that this person doesn’t really seem to want you around anymore. And it’s not a situation where you think they are ignoring you but they really can’t see you because you are some sort of undead spirit – they are actually WILLFULLY ignoring you because even if you do the thing where you make a penny move on the table they still don’t say anything.
“Don’t Be Cruel To Yrself”
I spent (spend?) a lot of time being depressed and mad at myself. My mind is a pretty dark place sometimes and this song is a reminder that the world is not as bad as I sometimes convince myself it is. And I’ve got people who care for me, always there for me, telling me everything is gonna be OK. And also I’m not a ghost.
“Until I Can See The Light”
I wrote this song a few days after I heard Harris Wittels died. Harris was a comedian and writer. I didn’t know him at all but I was a really big fan and it really hit me hard for some reason. We were similar ages when he died. He always seemed like such a bright, funny, positive force in the world and when he left the whole place felt a little bit darker. The song was my way of acknowledging that, and recognizing my own fear of death. Which, just to really drive this home, why would I be AFRAID of death if I were already dead? And don’t say “oh because you must know that it hurts to die because you have already died and you don’t want to die again and have to go through the application process of Hell & Heaven’s Earthbound Ghost Program again” because that’s ridiculous.