Nothing From Nothing

Album by Girls

As far as band start-up stories go, there are few that can compete with Girls. If there is ever a need for an encouraging background story of a successful artist, you can owe Christopher Owens one.

But even without the amazing backstory, Album stands as one of the exceptional albums of 2009, as well as the past decade. The album manages to reference an almost dizzying number of musical styles, but instead of focusing on imitating or even paying homage to its antecedents (they've been compared to Beach Boys, Morrissey, Elvis Costello, and Roy Orbison, just to name a few), Girls achieves an almost golden-oldies type of classicism just by their honest approach to their songs.

In lieu of Owens' past, it's easy to listen to "Hellhole Ratrace" or "Darling" and try to imagine which part of which song was shaped by his past. But it's also quite amazing to listen to lines like "I work to eat and drink and sleep just to live/Feels like I'm never getting back what I give/I've got a sad song in my sweet heart/And all I really ever need is some love and attention" followed by the sincere, if simple, advice "Sometimes you've just gotta make it for yourself".

But the most winning point of Album is its straightfoward honesty. Owens finds it easy to call "Laura" a bitch and himself an ass and still ask to be friends forever. In fact, "Darling" puts the album into perspective, singing "I was feeling so sad and alone/But I found a friend in the song that I'm singing". You don't need to be a part of the Children of God cult to understand Owens' desire to "rock like no one ever told [him] to stop" in "Big Bad Mean Motherfucker".

In Christopher Owens' own words: “These guys are weird and they’re doing something genuine and they can actually play and it’s nice to listen to and, hell, they even have an interesting backstory — check it out.”

(Not to mention, "Morning Light" may be one of the best songs from 2009.)

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