Review: Chet Faker’s “Built On Glass”

Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.

Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.

It’s hard to sift through a music news site or blog without stumbling across the name “Chet Faker.” Faker, 24, is an Australian singer who dabbles in electronic, R&B, soul and jazz, with an unsurprising musical influence derived from Chet Baker and Motown.

He gained unanticipated industry leverage through the widespread success of his “No Diggity” cover, the iconic Blackstreet song that set a precedent for ‘90s R&B. It was featured in the 2013 Super Bowl commercial for Beck’s Sapphire Beer: The rest is history.

Although he teased us with an infectiously catchy 2012 EP that showcased the provocative track “Into You” and his beloved “No Diggity,” fans had to wait until April 15, 2014, to get their hands on a bonafide album. (Also worthy of mention is Faker’s collaborative three tracks featuring Flume in “Lockjaw.”)

 

 

Faker’s debut album “Built On Glass” offers 12 tracks with musical ambience that’s nothing short of genius. The opening track “Release Your Problems” is a mellow, bluesy song that completes a full minute of instrumental anticipation before his voice croons at you to “release your problems.” While listening to this album, that suddenly seems feasible.

The bushy-bearded Casanova is acknowledged for his sultry, sensual lyrics that address lovers, but he displays an earnest vulnerability in “Built On Glass” that ventures outside the bedroom. Faker sings about lost friendships, loneliness, the sting of a lie and life.

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Chet Faker by: Interview Magazine

Here are some of my favorite tracks. But if you have the luxury of time, kick back, relax, play this album and sink into a refreshing tribute to true “soul.”

“Talk is Cheap” was an early release prior to April 15 that even featured a video. It’s a jazzy single with brilliantly candid lyrics.

“Cold pain, I cannot sustain it / that’s what I’m thinking / not what I’m drinking / I hold up my ways / these thoughts are pervasive / it’s not a statement / but peace can be evasive.”

“To Me” stands out in the metaphorical crowd of tracks as particularly raw. It’s perhaps the slowest song that borders on heart-wrenching through a tale about lies and deceit that affects both parties.

“You keep on lying / enough to deny you can see / when you curl up in bed and / just you and your head now / are you living? / When you look straight ahead and / you wish you were dead now / are you giving?”

“Blush” picks up from slow motion to real time in what I consider to be the sexiest track on the album. Vocals are strategically placed before and after increments of electronic, instrumental bliss.

“I kiss your blush / some kinds of lust / I want to feel my head overthrown / I’ve got enough / it’s in the touch / I kiss your knees and I try to be bold.”

Reach the blogger at inovak@asu.edu or on Twitter @IsabelleNovak.