A CD built from stories
It started late at night. Well, of course it did. Isn’t that when everyone has a story to tell?
Chaise Lounge wanted a CD of songs that tell stories. Most of songwriter Charlie Barnett’s songs involve tales that run simultaneously on two tracks (or sometimes three). Consider the title track, Insomnia… It seems to be about a girl who is up at three o’clock in the morning after having tried everything in her power to get to sleep. But it is really about making an ill-advised late-night call to someone who may well be the source of her insomnia. It is a call she should not be making. Been there? Probably.
Houdini is another elliptical tale about the redemptive power of simply walking away. But beyond that, it is about the magical experience of vanishing, both real and imaginary. Marilyn Older brings a surprising toughness to this song, and that is mirrored by the rock solid groove laid down by bassist Pete Ostle and drummer Tommy Barrick. 43 Good Excuses has a related storyline, but its lyrics have a light-hearted bent to them, combining the mundane irritations of daily life with a full mental dismissal of a recent break-up.
The Devil On My Cellphone is a raw recounting of an ongoing affair. It is a clear-eyed first person account of an incomprehensible yet irresistible attraction. Here, Chaise Lounge pares down to just Charlie Barnett on piano and Marilyn Older ripping your heart out of your chest with her searing, searching vocals.
The Whole Wide World is actually three interwoven stories: an earthquake, Elvis Presley’s rise to fame, and a lover walking out the door. The cool rockabilly setting belies the seriousness of each seismic event. A Man Who Can Cook is one of the few straightforward songs on the CD, and maybe the most delightful. John Jensen’s trombone and Gary Gregg’s clarinet are the perfect culinary foils for Marilyn’s quest for a chef in her life. So Hush is a little romantic comedy of a song: shy guy, cool girl, satisfying ending.
The song Slow Burn is a story that probably needs some explanation. It is about the vaudevillian Edgar Kennedy. It is also about the losses we suffer and the gifts we remember as our elders pass away.
This is Chaise Lounge’s most significant collection yet. The sheer musicality of the band is stunning. The recording is transparent and yet satisfyingly full. And the stories will find a comfortable resting place in your memory.