Self professed “gentleman from Texas” Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, is shaking things up with his newest effort. Taking a step away from his Americana roots, his recent LP Can’t Wake Up is a collection of genre bending songs, alternately humorous and haunting and full of both cheeky lyrics and strange, trailing harmonies. Following his first full length release in 2011, Rose-Garcia made waves as the official busker for the folk-based Railroad Revival Tour, featuring Edward Sharpe and Mumford & Sons, chosen for his unique one-man-band style of performance. Currently, Shakey Graves is on an extensive tour of North America and Europe, with special guests including Lauren Ruth Ward, Jose Gonzalez, and Twin Peaks. Catch him at Arroyo Seco in Pasadena this weekend.
Originally released in February as part of The Sleep EP, “Kids These Days” is a sardonic, yet not untrue look at the apparent apathy of youth. The lyrics are generationally nonspecific, focusing instead on the common attitude shared by each new wave of young people, the carefree recklessness that often seems to be out of touch with reality. Who hasn’t had the thought, during their formative years: “I’m too young to die / gonna live forever.” As untrue as the statement is, it strikes a chord with those of us who are lucky enough to see death as a faraway, foreign entity.
The video for the “Kids These Days” is a thin veil of farce over a universal truth. Dressed in a variety of cliched outfits and ridiculous wigs, from hair metal rocker to grill wearing rapper, Rose-Garcia parties his way through groups of wasted twenty-somethings and runs around on stage in an exaggeration of a rock show. During the bridge, time seems to freeze as Rose-Garcia walks back through the depraved scene, a look of disillusionment on his face. As the video comes to an end, he pulls off the wigs from his various costumes in exhaustion. The combination of these competing alter egos highlights the struggle of navigating one’s teens and twenties, desperately wanting to fit in, but not knowing oneself at all.