erasing clouds

Colin Clary, Every Little Thing Counts

review by dave heaton

Every Little Thing Counts is the perfect name for a Colin Clary CD. He has a history of releasing little un-showy CDs – some, like this 3” CD, with cute homemade packaging – that have gone on to become some of my favorite musical possessions. He also has an ear for little pop details, like the doo-wop harmonies that sneak up in the background on several of these songs. And his songs so often resemble little messages sent to a friend or stranger, as these do, starting right with the opener, a rah-rah wish song called “Really Rooting for Ya (And It Could Be Awesome)”. Wishes and hopes for the awesomest of times are often part of the content of his songs, as with some of my other favorite seeming optimists in music, like Jonathan Richman or Jason Anderson. It often is less a celebration of the times happening now than a dream for what things can be. Of course dreams so often end in disappointment, which is why there’s a lot of sadness wrapped in even the happiest, brightest of his melodies. Or as he sings on “You Tell Me Now”, “sometimes my sad place is a happy place”. Or later: “who can make the sun seem sad and lonely?”.

The giddiness and bittersweetness of these songs is never contradictory. I like how on “James William Hindle” – an ode to his favorite music-related items that’s of course really an ode to his favorite memories and therefore to his favorite people – he sounds so beautifully forelorn. And how the snappiest upbeat songs are just as likely to be filled with longing for someone who’s not there, like on the great last two songs, “Bricolage” and “Phone Me, Phone Me”. In “Bricolage”, he lists off what’s around him that he could use for bricolage. Those items just seem to remind him that she’s not there, like how the buttons, T-shirts and sweaters in “James William Hindle” all evoke memories. That gives another meaning to the title Every Little Thing Counts: for sensitive people (and aren’t we all?), every little thing around us has emotions associated with it.


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