Band Name: Lil’ Chris
Album Name: S/t
Best Element: Energy and hooks
Genre: New-wave rock
Label Name: RCA
Band E-mail: n/a
If I were to tell you that the best new wave power rock record of the year belonged to a sixteen year old kid named Lil’ Chris, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But it could very well be true. Lil’ Chris (born Chris Hardman, a veteran of Gene Simmons’ reality show Rock School) has created the only teenage pop/rock record worth listening to in a good long while.
If this was a different situation (if Chris didn’t look like he was 12 and sing like he was 10) we’d be in Franz Ferdinand territory… only better. Any new wave revivalist would be lucky to have tracks as brilliantly catchy as “Gettin’ Enough” and “Is She Ready?” in their catalog. In fact, the whole of the album is one giant hook propelled with enough youthful energy to nearly set it alight. Blistering cuts like first single “Checkin’ It Out” and Rock School-featured “Is There Anybody Out There?” retain both their f*ck-you attitude and accessibility, while beautifully understated electro ballad “I Never Noticed” becomes a sort of modern “Ben” moment for Chris.
The record is short and punchy, much like the artist, and that keeps things going at a perfect pace. Chris’s rock and roll posturing is continually fascinating and, while most likely annoying to some, is the real reason the album works so well. It sounds like the work of a teenager. Most every song is about girls or sex or (in most cases) a combination of both. None of this, of course, would be anything special if the songs weren’t so great. Bucking the usual teenage trend, Chris co-writes all his material and, judging from the results, he should. Lesson learned: the kids are alright, and I really should have dropped my preconceptions and checked this guy out sooner. A-
Key Tracks: “Gettin’ Enough,” “I Never Noticed,” “Is She Ready?”