Arts Desk

One Track Mind: The Strangest Places, Not It

Standout Track: No. 1, “Could Someone,” a moody bedroom-pop song with a hypnotic, repetitive melody and a steady beat. Incomprehensible whispers flutter in the background as sole member Chris Howard sings in an uninterested monotone: “She just wants a confident man/ who’s not afraid to hold her hand.” The song sounds cold and distant, but a feeling of longing grips tight. A human element persists even though Howard composed the song largely with Ableton.

Musical Motivation: “I just decided to make music I would listen to if someone else made it,” says Howard, 28. He’s written lyrics for several years, but became serious about his hobby when he began tinkering with music on his computer. When he bought a used guitar, things really started to come together. The Strangest Places is Howard’s first music project; before this, he only took a few junior-high guitar lessons. “It’s my fault if I don’t make music because I don’t rely on anyone,” he says.

Unconventional Beauty: Howard wrote most of the song on Halloween 2010. He writes from the perspective of a guy who knows what an “ideal” man is like but doesn’t identify with the archetype: “They say a sharp dressed man/ They say a well-groomed man/ They say a beautiful man/ is not what I am.” Then he poses a painful (or hopeful?) question: “Could someone like her want someone like me?”

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  • Marlo

    I wish City Paper would exercise whatever discerning taste I thought they had when telling me I should check out a local artist, because this is NOT IT. How engaging: some "bro" that just discovered Ableton and bought a used guitar (that he hints at, as well as proves, not knowing how to play very well), writing about not being the "ideal" man. What's confusing is that DC doesn't lack for talented musicians, so next time, dig a little deeper than this trite first stab at recording something in a dorm room.

  • Ella

    (Ignoring Marlo's rude/unnecessary comment,) I liked this! Respect people's artistic forms of expression. Also I like the lyrics to this song. Keep working at it and keep the songs coming!

  • Grace

    I agree with Ella!

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