Crofton’s “Hello” Earnest, Vulnerable, Uninspired

Chris Crofton – Hello It’s Me

Arrowhawk Records

-out June 22

2.5 / 5

 

Nashville’s macabre comedian Chris Crofton fights through alcoholism and the loss of a relationship in Hello It’s Me, a smattering of laid-back rock tracks centered around his newfound sobriety. Coming through the other side of a life change has given Crofton a soft, earnest sound and desire to share his insight, and a handful of mainstream musicians have come together to support him: Jim James’ guitar is here, as well as Matt Myers from Houndmouth, among several others. There is something here, certainly, but unfortunately, there isn’t enough to meet up to its vision and our expectations. What is present in earnestness and message is unfortunately lacking in craft and songwriting, leaving too much to be desired.

Lyrically, Hello It’s Me is weak. The lead single, “UFO Hunters,” is exceptionally repetitive; we could write almost all the lyrics in two lines. It’s a simplicity that lends itself to singing along live, which is enjoyable, but as possibly the strongest track here, it feels deeply flawed. Many of the other tracks remind us of an old jazz fad: adding a string orchestra to jazz albums with musicians of varying degrees of talent. While creating a more sophisticated, and sometimes really enjoyable contrast, some lesser musicians pick up an orchestra so that the more traditional sound masks their weaknesses. “Love Letter” sticks out to us as this type of case, and again, it attempts to hide a weakness in lyrics: “I’m going to write you a love letter. /It’s going to make your cry / … You’ll never say goodbye.” The strings still make that cool sound, but without a backing of strong writing, the song, like much of the album, feels hollow. For that matter, including these other fantastic musicians doesn’t lift up what we find to be weak material.

As much as we’d want to recommend an album as intimate and personal as Hello It’s Me, it unfortunately has a musical gap that needs to be filled in. It leaves our expectations unfulfilled to the point that we recommend a pass.

 

Listen to “UFO Hunters” on the Bandcamp site.

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