Paul Childers – Naked Poetry
Debut albums from twenty two year olds aren’t supposed to be this good. There’s supposed to be a sense that the young artist is biting off more than he can chew, a certain amount of hesitancy, a sort of weakness in direction that shows, despite the wealth of potential, that the young artist still has some distance to travel. There’s nothing like that with Naked Poetry. Paul Childers emerges, full borne, from these twelve songs and demonstrates a singular purpose for both self-expression and entertaining his growing audience. Expect Childers to experience exponential growth in all areas with the release of Naked Poetry. It’s a particularly apt title. Childers comes through on Naked Poetry in an impactful, unvarnished fashion that has the makings of a long and iconic career ahead. Anyone who appreciates immense musicality and heartfelt songwriting will enjoy this brilliant new release.
He starts Naked Poetry off with the character study “Music Pulls You Through”. It’s a song reflective of the same essentially life-affirming message featured throughout his work It isn’t life viewed through rose colored glasses – instead, Childers writes songs that refuse to wallow in negativity and, even when the lyrics fail to reflect this, the buoyancy and sparkling textures of his performances are effective at conveying those emotions. He excels even more with the composition and performance “The Art of Being Twenty”. The title, at first inspection, might risk cliché, but Childers turns in one of his best all-around tracks with the album’s second song and it has a surprising maturity that further illustrates this is an unique performer with insight to spare. “My Love of the Rain” is the album’s longest song, running nearly five minutes, and has a nicely orchestrated quality missing from the remaining tracks. Childers gives his audience an appropriately sensitive vocal for the occasion and takes obvious care to tailor his voice as closely as possible to the musical surroundings. The groovy beat beginning the title song “Naked Poetry” is a great platform for its playful vocal melody and it takes enough twists for two full songs despite its short running time.
“No One Goes Dancing Anymore” has a similar quasi-orchestral quality at first, but it soon transforms into a light bit of R&B influenced pop music. Guitar plays an underrated role in the success of this song, but the drumming deserves a hearty round of applause as well. “Strangers” , a melancholy tale of modern love, gets a lovely treatment from Childers both from a vocal and songwriting point of view. The album’s closer, “Stay a Little Longer”, revisits some eternal themes for popular song and Childers acquits himself with tremendous skill. It has the feel of a closer as well and shows a clear sense from this young artist on how to properly conclude an album. Naked Poetry hits hard and makes its point with as little wasted motion as possible. What a performer, what a writer. It’s thrilling to think about where Childers can go from here, but this is definitely a career in the offing with the legs to go a long way into the future.