Cashmere if You Can
Released: September 19, 2010 (see notes)
Sales (in millions): --
Genre: adult alternative
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks)
3.445 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
One-time Squeeze singer and songwriter “Chris Difford has cemented his position as one of Britain’s premier songwriters with his eye for detail, turning even the grittiest observations into pithy vignettes with his dexterous and witty wordplay.” PT “On his new album Cashmere If You Can – his third as a solo artist – Chris frequently turns his ever-watchful eye on himself for an album that is uncharacteristically autobiographical, but typically frank.” PT It “features songs about adulthood, coming of (middle or later) age, and a man coming to terms with just how at odds he can be with the world around him.” JB
“First offered as downloads via the artist’s official website, the 12 numbers here find one of Britain’s greatest treasures in typically fine form.” JB “Although Chris is often noted for his lyrics – having won two Ivor Novello Awards – his baritone voice has rarely sounded so rich as it does here. As well as regular collaborator Boo Hewerdine, Chris has enlisted the services of Leo Abrahams, who has produced or written with Brian Eno, David Byrne, Brett Anderson, David Holmes & Carl Barat. The results have energised his music and given the whole album a rock-pop sheen reminiscent not just of Squeeze at their best or The Kinks but also shows the contemporary likes of Brendan Benson, Supergrass and Razorlight – all of whom owe a debt to Chris – how it’s done.” PT
Opening song 1975 “sets the tone, with a polished glam-rockabilly riff over propulsive drums,” PT “a nod to the golden age of glam.” JB The lyrics “detail the protagonist’s misspent youth” JB via “the story of a young man forming a band in South London – seemingly to great success.” PT However, “the track is less celebratory than cautionary.” JB “As has been Chris’ way right from Squeeze’s earliest days, [there’s] a devastating sting in the tail – ‘I threw away a family, a fortune and a wife’.” PT “We hear details of multiple trips to rehab and a person who’s convinced that his best days are long behind him.” JB “Would he trade it all in for the chance to be young and naïve again? ‘Sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m happy to be here.’” PT Regardless of the song’s message, “we can’t help but bob our heads in recognition of realism as those sublime four-plus minutes tick away.” JB
“Although the album isn’t nostalgic, much of it is focused on Chris’ maturation – where once he wrote he ‘never thought it would happen with … the girl from Clapham’, now he’s almost proud as he watches his children run around making the exact same mistakes (Like I Did).” PT It “offers one of the more refreshing takes on parenting in recent memory, as our hero sings about children who are remarkably like their parents – whether stoned, sleeping, or slow to change. And if it, like ‘1975’, isn’t a complete celebration, it’s not resignation either.” JB
“Back in the Day remembers the Chris whose cockney affectations in ‘Cool for Cats’ made living for the weekend seem so attractive.” PT
“Throughout the album Chris imbues his songs with some heartbreaking truths, yet his deftness of touch, along with some instantly memorable melodies and choruses, prevents them becoming maudlin. Goldfish – a duet with Kathryn Williams – describes a relationship breaking down by focusing not on vague emotions but on the petty trivialities and modern-day pitfalls that will be recognisable to anyone, while the ‘Girl From Ipanema’-esque strains of Upgrade Me confront preparing for death and the afterlife by comparing it to the mundane requests of an air traveller.” PT
“Written with unflinching candour, Sidney Street is a heartfelt, piano-led paean to his grandfather going off to war, a chilling reminder of just how different his life could have been if he’d been born in a different generation.” PT
There’s also “a strange kind of love song (The Still & the Sparkling), multiple references to pissed mattresses, observations about the evil that men do and how it lives on and on after them, stories of a less than sparkling and prolonged morning after (Wrecked), and the acknowledgment that an old lover is better off without us (Happy Once Again).” JB The latter “sees Chris accepting a long-term relationship end with good grace – perhaps addressing himself. Having posed a lot of questions and contradictions throughout the album, this song seems to be the final resolution.” PT
“This is all fitting fodder for Difford, a man who reminds us that life is complicated, filled with gradations of light and dark, quelled hopes and quieted dreams, and expansive orchards of trees richly blooming with varieties of words and emotions one can choose from to express all these diverse and sometimes devilish experiences and exorcisms.” JB “Throughout, the musical mood is light even when the lyrical matter isn’t; the whole affair feeling like a revue celebrating human foibles and failings with an uncharacteristically strong sense of accomplishment.” JB
“This is music, unsurprisingly, for the thinking man, the aging man, the man aware that there are no easy answers.” JB “Chris has always had a smart social conscience; these songs see him coming to terms with himself and his past, laying ghosts to rest.” PT “Difford is, of course, not the only artist of his kind, but he may be the best at what he does and perhaps the most unflinchingly honest…This is an album filled with undeniable truths that are delivered with an uncommon caring, gentleness, and intelligence that few artists fully inhabit. It is, in a word, brilliant.” JB
Notes: Release date above reflects the release of the full album (according to iTunes), but it had been released a song at a time over several months. Difford released a new song each week through the Saturday Morning Music Club. SM Each week, several rarities, which often included acoustic versions of Squeeze songs, were also released. The releases started on June 4, 2010, with the song 1975. The album finally saw an official UK release on 5/2/11 and 6/7/11 in the U.S.
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First posted 7/13/2011; last updated 2/5/2022.