It’s a calm Sunday night for me. I’ve made dinner, done laundry, cleaned, and even meal prepped for the week. I needed a soundtrack to wind me down and get me ready for a cozy night in with a book and some tea so I pulled out Jason Chaffee’s ‘Carry Me’ out of my pile, hit play, and sat back hoping that this would be the album to do the trick.
“Lost It All” kicks off the album with a perfect track of beauty. I was instantly struck by Jason’s voice. It’s smooth but it had this unspoken edge to it. I instantly got a very 90’s vibe from this opening track. From the vocals to the instrumentation of it, something just screamed 90’s alt-pop but it also has a very modern feeling to it. Although a track that seems to blur lines behind calming and rocking, there was something effortlessly comforting about Jason’s style that is heard loud and clear in this track and that’s what made me an instant fan of this musician.
Second to take over my speakers was “Time” which had a bit of a more happy-go-lucky feeling to it. The lyrics are oddly not super optimistic but that’s the beauty of this track. The whole thing is a bit of a contradiction but a beautiful one at that. It’s easy listening for sure but also a track that instantly has your mind wandering. The lyrics are vague but still tell a story leaving more than enough room for your mind to wander. That feeling stayed as a constant as the album moved onto “Complicated Sadness”. This one was an instant favorite of mine. “Complicated Sadness” is the perfect title for this track from the storyline to the instrumentation. Again, with the almost optimistic vibe but heartbreaking lyrics, the genius behind this track is apparent.
“Renegade” brings a whole new feeling to this quick eight song album while still staying completely “Jason”. Another instant favorite of mine, there’s a driving force behind this track that hasn’t been heard in the previous tracks. It’s more rocking and rolling but the lyrics are still deep and that’s when I realized why I was so instantly hooked on Jason. He is a wordsmith, a story teller. His way with words is stunning and his genius way of putting them with instrumentation is just the icing on the cake.
“Tides” seems to split the difference between the calming alt-pop 90’s vibe of the first few songs and the rockin’ spirit of “Renegade” while bringing in a completely anthemic sound to the forefront. Dramatic strings can be heard throughout this song which makes it a stand-out on this album. There’s a sense of heartbreak in this one that you can feel from the emotions emitted through Jason’s voice that is nothing short of goosebump inducing. Just when the goosebumps seemed like they would become too much, the album moved onto another happy-go-lucky track, “Going Home”.
“Going Home” instantly had me tapping my toe with a smile stretching across my face. A twangy slide guitar brings up a side of Jason in this track that I wasn’t quite expecting. Although it would be a stretch to call Jason a country or Americana artist, this track definitely has the lines blurred a little bit. Regardless of what genre this song fits in, it’s a great track and got a few listens before I moved onto “Fade and Die”. The switch between “Going Home” and “Fade and Die” is shocking but delightful. “Fade and Die” brings back the rock and roll vibe of “Renegade” and brings in a little more Springsteen to it. I could absolutely see a whole venue dancing around to this one without a care in the world. It’s fun, upbeat, driving, all the while with lyrics put together in a way that only Jason could pull off.
This album is far too short for my liking and, before I knew it, “Better Soul” was closing out my adventure. Calming things back down and bringing the album full circle back to the beginning, this is the perfect closing to a perfect album. You can hear everything from the twangy country side of “Going Home” and combining it with the rocking vibe of “Renegade” while staying true to that alt-pop 90’s feeling of “Lost It All”. If I had to suggest one track to listen to from this album just to kind of get a feeling of Jason Chaffee’s sound and style, “Better Soul” would be it.
Okay, so ‘Carry Me’ wasn’t quite the calming vibe that I thought I wanted tonight but it ended up being the perfect soundtrack to my lazy Sunday night. It left me feeling full of life and a sense of calm that I think I had been missing out on all weekend. After listening to this album, Jason has carved a spot in my “must see live” list. There’s an unspoken energy throughout this album that I just have to experience live but, since that doesn’t seem to be a possibility anytime soon, I’ll just have to play this album a couple of times on repeat and just daydream about a live show from him.
My Favorite Track(s): “Complicated Sadness”; “Renegade”
For Fans Of: 90’s Alt-Pop Music; Comforting Sounds; Real and Deep Lyrics
Daydream-ability: 8.4 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats must have been upstairs because I never saw them or heard them.
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9.3 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.6 out of 10
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