On March 1st Brooklyn based female singer-songwriter Christina Rubino released her full-length debut album, Alive from the Scrapheap. The candid nature of the album plays more like an audio journal than a neatly packaged playlist of songs. Christina Rubino has a resounding message that is as solemn as it is true. With lyrics like: ‘you can open up your chest / and hope your heart sings / jump from the rooftops / and hope to sprout wings / cry on the shoulders of gypsies and Kings / believe me that won’t do anything,’ it’s no wonder she’s garnered such critical acclaim.
The aforementioned lyrics are pulled from, ‘Get Away,’ an opener about redemption and rebirth. A kick drum launches the song: it’s round, warm, and not in your face, yet the perpetual four on the floor pattern seems to drive the song like an unyielding locomotive. A billowing harmonica motif seems to play call and response with her lyric heavy melodies. And her vocals perch splendidly over the shimmering twangs of acoustic steel stings. There’s no better way to start things off.
‘Pending the Last Soul’ has weighty gospel influences not unlike Dylan’s ‘I shall be Released.’ With biblical references drawn from the New Testament and quotes like: ‘man cannot live on bread alone,’ the song is laden with undertones of consumption and corruption, and the soulful wail of a guitar slide reinforces the idea. Although a cautionary tale, ‘Pending the Last Soul’ is a graceful tune with a sincere message.
‘Waiting to Break’ is a sullen slow-tempo number with a strong use of imagery and a keen sense of musical aesthetic. The incorporation of text painting is used when the song—in an uncanny manner—ambles to a snare hit that emulates the ticking of a clock. Eventually Christina utters: ‘my mind is a prison / my behavior is a prison / I am a prison / locked in my own cell,’ a sense of anxiety and anticipation begin to set in. She goes on, ‘every time I flip a coin it lands on tails / so I’ll just keep on these short, dark dirty trails / smoke some cigarettes and bite off all my nails.’ Her dark imagery swirls with a certain beauty that leaves much to the imagination.
Christina’s music and words mellifluously pour out of her with a candid intimacy that could only come from someone that’s been there. Some people go their whole lives with a Dylanesque old-soul wisdom, and never find it in themselves to express their flaws and frailties with such fortitude. The album is truly a landmark for Ms. Rubino not only as an artist but also as an individual with the integrity and perseverance to rise above personal struggle. The self-actualizing record can be found here: Alive from the Scrapheap.