Forgotify, the Last Frontier: “Faces”

Memo to musicians: Please, for the love of everything, stop using dorky backup vocals.

David Wooster Atkinson, from what I can tell, is a self-produced and self-marketed musician, which is what so many of us are becoming in response to greedy record labels. Sure, we get to keep the profits, but when marketing an album can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s hard to get the message out.

A cursory search only brings up websites which sell Atkinson’s music; I can find no official artist website. In this day and age, that can be the death knell for a musician. This album, Deep Colours Bleed, may be from 1992, but his most recent album, Ghost of a Funfair, was released in 2008, so there’s really no excuse for that.

In any case, this album seems relatively well produced, which shows that a considerable amount of effort and money were sunk into “Faces.” Have a listen to it here.

The acoustic guitar has a warm tone and is pleasant to listen to, while Atkinson’s voice seems to emulate a vibe somewhere in the middle of The Eagles and The Dave Matthews Band. Atkinson’s voice could be the reason why the album never took off — while he affects the whispery speak-singing that is popular with artists like John Mayer, his voice doesn’t have any warmth or resonance about it. (I realize that this album was released long before John Mayer hit the Billboard charts, I’m just trying to give a general frame of reference.) The backup vocals in “Faces” are cheesy and contrived, which is unfortunate, as the song could have some real potential.

The lyrics seem forced, with text like, “I was polluted, but now I’m pure; I was uncertain, she made me sure,” accompanied by a satisfyingly introspective acoustic guitar in the very beginning of the song. If the song had stayed in that vein instead of bursting into a brazen chorus with lame backup vocals, this song could have been interesting. Instead, it comes off as a contrived piece of music with little to no relevance or meaning.

Not to mention, some of those backup singers aren’t singing with the rhythm, and aren’t 100% in tune. Get it together, backup singers.

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