Carl Creighton – Minnesota

Carl Creighton

New York singer/songwriter Carl Creighton has delivered a pleasant enough debut. The water treaded is safe and Creighton does a respectable enough job of allowing his tender tenor to shine through on many of the songs. Although some of the wordplay sounds forced and almost, in some cases, flawed there are enough brighter moments on Minnesota for any music fan to enjoy.

A major flaw is the way Creighton sounds like he really struggled with these lyrics. The first line of the opener, “Smoking is Ugly” is downright cringe-worthy, “Smoking is ugly, that’s why you do it.” First impressions count for a lot and it took a lot for me to delve into this further after that first line. Other times, it sounds like Creighton is fumbling with words to use and he suffers in too much repetition as he sings, “And I do miss my family and you must miss your family so I’ll be your family if you’ll be mine” on “Be My Best Friend.”

Songs like “Minnesota” and “Erin” are tender songs dealing with true life emotions. And the music paired with them is equally enjoyable and even great in sparse moments. The harmonica and the way Creighton softly sings in the former are terrific, as are the smart choice in strings. The closer, “Baby’s Breath” is a sad, somber song but the piano-driven ballad is affecting and moving. However, the song would have been much better if Creighton sung it on his own, instead of with a female vocal and that’s mostly because she lazily sings the lower harmony. It isn’t appealing and it distracts since it’s in the way most of the song.

Easily the best song on the debut is the painstaking ballad about losing a love, “El Paso.” The song is remarkable because Creighton is able to hone in all of his strengths into this one gem. The lyrics are built around an eventful and fateful night that leads to an ultimate loss. Creighton sings about how the only thing that should matter is the couple’s mutual love. So check one, the lyrics are good. Also, the music is somber and crafted in a manner that it simply adds to the lyrical content, rather than hindering it. The electric guitar particularly shines with a memorable melodic line. So check two, the music is good. Finally, what makes this song so enjoyable is the way Creighton arranges the music so that it builds to an intense and emotive climax. The music expands to a bittersweet exaltation as Creighton belts out, “We weren’t meant for this town but we were meant for us.”

Ultimately, this is a shaky first album for Creighton. The music is weighed down by a few mistakes here and there but that shouldn’t discount what a talented musician he appears to be. Creighton does have a solid voice and his music breaths with his soft and peaceful arrangements.