Paige Chaplin – Company

I first ran into Paige and her music when she was a freshman at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. When her peers were asked about the new joiner to the Fish Pond family, they would simply say “Paige is Paige”. I soon found out what they meant. In a league of her own, sometimes seemingly in a world of her own, her voice was always airy, delightful, and I remember early numbers “By the Moon”, “Fire”, and her cover of “I Can’t Help, Falling in Love With You” impressing on me how well her guitar technique and voice fit together. Starting out 2014 with what she describes, appropriately on Valentine’s Day, as “my anti-love song”, she’s back and she’s in amazing form. Paige Chaplin brings you “Company”.

Paige Chaplin - Company

Releasing the wonderful effort “He Has Gone, Said Her Heart” in August 2012, Paige has been on hiatus since that time; and quite honestly, it was a shame not to see any releases in 2013 with all of the promise of her early work. Now settled, producing that same exquisite uniqueness in her vocal, the same guitar sound, but with a maturity of writing which takes her to the next level of the Chaplin sound, “Company” is a worthy release, and it’s a strong start to 2014 and the hopeful anticipation of an album to come. Listen here with me.

I imagine this song seeping quietly into an empty white room, soft instrumentation cautious, introducing a little of the minor mood which will swirl around us through this five minutes and 22 seconds of reflection. This intro is comfortable, like an old sweater. It’s very reminiscent of Paige two years ago; until the vocal comes in, that is. Paige, whispy as usual, but with an edge which keeps me thinking of the middle east. Ironically for this Valentine’s Day release, she sets a lonely tone from the get go:

“Don’t you dare say you’ll stay
Cause I’ve no room in this bed for two
And I never needed anybody’s company
I never needed anyone but me”

Paige is back, with a vengeful vengeance.

The build continues at 1 minute and 43 seconds, with a boost from the strings, percussion, and piano to push the song to the next level. This is what is new and refreshing about this latest release; if previously Paige relied justifiably on her guitar and vocal only, she’s taken the best of it and pushed it much further with these Phrygian moods (a common sound in Arabic and Egyptian music) and a much broader backing. Her voice is pure, true to itself, and dare I say flawless. There is no use of harmony, she uses no vocal effect that I can hear, and it’s a delight. The chorus is such a lovely major key stepped resolution to the slightly urgent sounding verse:

“I never need anybody’s company
I never needed anyone but me
I never needed you to tell me I’m enough
And I never needed the weight of a man”

She has room to bring the dynamics down to that guitar again, to introduce a third distinct portion of the song, and it allows a slow build into the main instrumental again. The melody is so hopeful and holds me captive, listening more for the clear-as-crystal lyric now. Here’s what the songs says to me; it’s a song of empowerment, strength, reflection, moving on, a bold screw-you tattoo on the forearm; yet ironically it somehow still feels sad, there’s a whole lot of meaning, and the right words are all there, but not necessarily all of the conviction. It feels like love has been lost and there’s an element of a hurt girl being strong in the best way she can. It’s a song to sing to the mirror to convince yourself that you feel like you are still whole, still breathing, alright.

“When I’m gone in the morning as you’re waking up
When your body’s not next to mine like you thought
I traced the word goodbye onto your arm
Before I left and sank into the dawn”

The way the song fades is just as beautiful, as our empty white room falls dark. It’s as lovely a work of art as I’ve heard from Paige, and gives full attention to all of the things I have loved about her work in the past, with something new to reflect on. As the waif-like voice closes the door, she stands, proud, independent, alone, and leaves us in little doubt:

“I never needed you”.

A great effort, and long awaited. I’ve so enjoyed listening to this multiple times, as I have enjoyed her YouTube work over the last year to keep me going, like this rendition of “Ready“. Paige is Paige, as will be her lasting tribute from friends and fans, a unique talent, destined to release quality material as and when she produces it, rather than on our clock. I so look forward to the album, for the doubtless many new ideas and joys it will bring.

David Mark Smith
Founder, Global Musicians Fish Pond
Singer/Songwriter, My Lucky Fish

released 14 February 2014
Music and lyrics by Paige Chaplin
Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by: Billy Centenaro
String arrangements: Billy Centenaro
Artwork: Nick Surette

Vocals & Guitar: Paige Chaplin
Drums: Tim Kmet
Bass Drum & Chimes: Nick Surette
Violin 1: Chase Potter
Violin 2: Avery Ballotta
Cello: Ro Rowan
Viola: Dan Lay
Piano: Billy Centenaro

You can find out more about Paige Chaplin at her profile page here, or purchase “Company” from her Bandcamp page here.


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