Past Life Crashing

Collin Herring

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Past Life Crashing Review

by William Ruhlmann

The press materials promoting Texas singer/songwriter Collin Herring's third album, Past Life Crashing, make a point of revealing the personal details of his tumultuous life since his last recording, 2005's The Other Side of Kindness, including a broken marriage and two stints in rehab. While one may decry such exploitation of private matters for commercial purposes, it may have been offered to give journalists and reviewers (and, eventually, listeners) some context in which to understand the album's songs, which are full of otherwise unexplained statements of depression and listlessness. Herring sings in a wispy tenor over familiar folk-rock and country-rock arrangements that are more compelling than the lyrics they support, lyrics in which, when he's making any sense at all, he conveys ennui more than anything else. "You may think that I care," he sings in the album's second song, "Beside" (although he hasn't given any reason for anyone to think that), "But I don't." It's not the last time he sounds so depressed; in fact, it's really only the beginning. While it is heartening that Herring has emerged from his personal problems sufficiently to drag himself into a recording studio and make some more music, that doesn't automatically make the music worth hearing. As the old joke goes, "I've suffered for my art. Now it's your turn."

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