by Alex Wexelman (@alexwexelman)
On the first single on his last album as CHUCK, songwriter Charles Griffin Gibson examines the aura of his adopted hometown of New York City. Its mythos looms large and Gibson both parodies the city’s self-importance and himself for buying into it.
From getting a great office job out of college but still having to live hand-to-mouth, Gibson embodies the best and worst of this great and awful contradictory city, which he perfectly sums up in the chorus: “I’m a New Yorker / At an art gallery downtown / I’m a New Yorker / Get the hell outta my way now.”
Busy, busy, busy. Everyone’s bustling, rushing to work. “Move!” you’ll find yourself growling Friday morning. Friday night your pace slows to SoHo Boho. These fret-free moments are rare, though. “I work so hard that my hair’s been gettin’ thin , I ain’t got no time to hit the gym,” Gibson sings.
The theme of self-consciousness is carried over into CHUCK’s latest single, “Cherry Tree.” “I found myself exploring the ups and downs of my body. At some moments I feel buff and confident and in control and other times I'm a slave to bad food and cigarettes,” Gibson wrote in an email.
The whole New-York-I-love-you-but-you’re-bringing-me-down attitude is relatable but at the end of the day New York is just an expensive island we choose to anthropomorphize. Whether it’s body-image or happiness or succeeding in the rat-race, there will be inevitable ups and downs. Those are unavoidable. But, as Newton summarized, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
When you’re feeling like shit, as hard as it is, you have to temper it by doing something you enjoy. And for me, that’s been going to the Met. Basking in the museum’s unparalleled collection of Post-Impressionist art gave me hope during the three months I was unemployed, depressed as fuck, and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy (I got a job right before my would-be fate of becoming a real-life E.L. Konigsburg character).
The video for CHUCK’s “Cherry Tree,” which Post-Trash is premiering below, wouldn’t be out of place living in the Met. Painted by Soren Hope, it’s a visual ode to dancing yrself clean best approximated to Monet directing a-ha’s “Take on Me” video.
Dancing like there’s nobody watching is analogous to the unabashed freedom of being yourself. You have a choice: you can give in to your sorrows or you can dance like you’re Mr. Fun.
Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store is out August 18 on Audio Antihero.