stAlkid is a solo artist from Denver who according to this Facebook page is Roman Johnson. There aren’t many pictures of the artist and I surmise that he at least wants his appearance to remain anonymous. At the forefront of these songs on his release Quit EP are his acoustic guitar and vocals. There is a dark/tortured feel to the songs but his lyrics at times can create an odd juxtaposition. I found his lyrics to be oddly motivating at times and at other times so nihilistic that is his message is ambiguous to say the least.
Take for instance “TWIM” which revolves around a simple chord progression, a straightforward beat and some light pads. He sings, “And When the world Ends / I Hope it Ends with you and Me I want to Be the Generation to See / The earth wash herself Clean / This life is short, it hurts / Don’t Be afraid, Be Exactly/What you want to Be / These days are yours to Seize / And if you don’t / All the more for Me.”
He goes on to sing about how his job sucks and how he did drugs and had sex with women and closes it up with saying how nothing matters. Not exactly the most poetic words in the world but it works.
The juxtaposition of everything is complete shit but “do something” is also apparent on the opening track “The Ring.” As you dig deeper in the lyrics you sense that all of this is coming from a lonely, isolating place. Again and again he reinforces themes that he doesn’t need anybody with a feeling of indignation and sadness behind.
On “Quit” the ways he delivers the lines “I don’t need help from you / I can do this myself / I’m self-reliant” make you feel like the exact opposite. It sounds like a call for help from whoever he is speaking through.
“All My Friends Are Dead” is perhaps the most depressing title I have heard in recent memory. The song is sparse and contains one of his best vocal performances. There is a bit of Elliott Smith-esque vibe going on with this relatively short song.
“A Curse, for Enemies” is just dark all around. Really dark. So much so it negates any kind of light that he was shining on the album. The song seems to imply themes of murder, vengeance and vitriol.
Quit EP doesn’t contain music that most people will listen to on a Friday or use to relax. It’s got a time and a place. After spending time with it the music doesn’'t feel just like melancholy. There is an overt feeling of despair and pain that seeps its way in.
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