Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Been thinking about this a lot lately and maybe you all have been too: What all do we need as we get older? How much less can we live with and did we think that this is how it was going to be? There comes a time when we start to sift through our honest to goodness feelings and reassess what all we need to draw from our time. There are those who think they need more attention, more respect, more relevance, more of everything, even when that does nothing to change their level of happiness and when you start moving around slower, feeling that it's later earlier in the night and checking for those first gray hairs, all you should be trying to gauge is how damned happy you are and nothing else. Of course, with that come the questions of what went wrong and even the slippery one about what actually went right. How did any of this happen? Lansing, Michigan, garage-pop band Cheap Girls write the kinds of songs that are meant to dig into these thoughts and begin to put together a scrapbook of meaningful instances that started out fuzzily and slowly came into focus and others that still look the way the entire river looks on a sun-drenched day, with our heads ducked under the surface and our eyes open to the churned up murk. Many of the short and sweet numbers on the band's latest record, "My Roaring 20's" ask those hypothetical questions that come after so many decades in your skin, when you've gotten fairly good at knowing what you're thinking, what you might do in certain situations, but still feel completely lost for how others might react in similar ones. You still question how you got here to this point and Cheap Girls lead singer Ian Graham does the same thing, believing that there are other places that we were supposed to be, but some quantum leap might have happened within our continuum to alter everything as it was supposed to work out. "My Roaring 20's" sounds like the kind of brooding, but energetic indie rock and roll that Blair Shehan was making in Knapsack back in the 1990s, but with more of a Detroit rock and roll sensibility. It focuses on the regrets that may be harbored, but also on the feeling that it's okay to have less that we might actually want. It just might be okay to work for the man, punching the clock and then coming home to the wife and kids, a cold beer or glass of wine, a decent meal and some Netflix on the television. Sure, there will always be that voice in the head asking if this was really the way we thought it would be, wondering if everything's set in stone, but those pesky nothings are easy to brush away or heartily laugh right out the back door. At some point, our angst and regrets just transfer into contentedness.