Monday, December 17, 2007

61.Shari Elf - Happy World (I`m Forcing Goodness Upon You,2001)

Shari Elf, a Kansas City artist who now lives in Southern California, is, in her own words, "a twirling attractor of goodness." No person who has ever heard this disc could disagree. With a voice that drips with sentimentality and amazement accompanied by omnichord, piano, guitar, banjo, sewing machine, and a "$7 thrift store electric chord organ," Elf paints a picture of an ugly world that can be transformed into a bliss-filled wonderland with a simple attitude adjustment.Her lyrics are smart, undyingly optimistic and daffy as a screwball comedy.Shari is a master at simplicity, there are no complications, the lyrics are everyday surface stuff, no deep psychological underpinnings, you need not be a rocket scientist to get it. The arrangement reminds you of 50's simplicity and innocence, nothing fancy, simple guitar licks, a pleasant melody, a cohesive flow. I can't emphasize the simplicity enough, it totally amazes me how little it really takes to make music work. However, I believe it takes a genius to understand the simplicity and make it work. Shari Elf has done that; it works and works really good. It's all in the eyes.By the way, Shari's art work made from recycled materials is in the collections of Elayne Boosler, Jack Nicholson, Courtney Love and a bunch of other celebs.Her songs are folk-artful, too -- melodic, lo-fi odes, lullabyes and musical dramatizations that gaily dance back and forth over the fine lines between whimsy and despair ("Happy World"), trivia and substance and satire and cruel irony.
Shari's cd really does force goodness upon you. You can't help but feel happy when listening to it. She writes with such intellectual humor and wit, it's inspiring! Sometimes her lyrics remind me of Leonard Cohen, but usually they only remind me of her because they are so original.A must for any collector of the obscure.This is One of the best albums I have ever listened!

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