Chad VanGaalen – “Soft Airplane”

September 18, 2008

As he’s shown on his previous records, 2004’s Infiniheart and 2006’s Skelliconnection, Chad VanGaalen knows how to create intricate pop songs, whether soft and simple, or distorted and experimental. Now, that contradicting sound is nicely summed up in the title of his latest – and perhaps best – effort, Soft Airplane.

Death has been a central theme on all of VanGaalen’s records so far, and Soft Airplane is no exception. On the album-opener, the gentle “Willow Tree”, VanGaalen frailly sings:

When I die
I hang my head beside the willow tree
When I’m dead
Is when I’ll be free

Somber to say the least, but also one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. And the rest certainly don’t disappoint – Soft Airplane is by far VanGaalen’s most consistent album yet, with well crafted tunes from start to finish. Because while his first two records had plenty of solid songs on them, there were also some that easily could have been weeded out. This time, it seems like VanGaalen has done just that and only included the top of the crops, creating one of the best albums of 2008.

~ “Willow Tree” ~

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