Chris Stamey – It's A Wonderful Life
DB Recs, 1982
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
I really wanted to say something like “It's a Wonderful Life is a wonderful record” but it's not. It falls into the trappings of mid-80s music that makes it sound dated and cheesy. It's got that thumpy, up in the mix bass sound like the Talking Heads but shitty, and this is basically what it used to mean when you added “Electronic elements to a record” in the 80s. Cheesy synths, cheesy processed drums, cheesy bass. Stamey's voice is pretty much the only thing that sounds legit. Chris Stamey was ½ of the genius behind the dBs, and he's got some excellent solo songs. I got into him through Little Hits and in particular this song he does called “The Summer Sun,” which is a really excellent, raw, perfect power pop song. Even his voice here sounds thin and neutered. This is a terrible record, and almost impossible to listen to. The bass sounds the same in every song, and I know because it's the loudest thing on the record. It all sounds terribly misguided, a shitty record from a really talented artist. It happens, I guess.