Life Is a Flower…Life Is a Gun
The most remarkable thing about Angie Aparo’s new record Life Is a Flower…Life Is A Gun isn’t the incessant ear-worm hooks and melodies, the sheer creativity and diversity of the 12 songs or the flawless production. No, it’s that the Atlanta singer songwriter actually made this record in the first place.
That’s because he suffered a devastating stroke in 2016 which caused catastrophic short-term memory loss. He had to learn how to play guitar again and how to write songs again. He essentially had to re-learn the craft of music he spent years honing as a solo artist and in-demand Nashville songwriter.
Aparo used iPhone app Siri to help his recovery by experimenting with words and phrases as a therapeutic way to learn to write again. It’s clear from the first track he wrote this way “Church Bells vs The Television” how he has integrated those samples, and how, after a string of albums which have ranged from slick and polished modern rock to a more stripped back ’70s country vibe he has produced a multi-layered sound that almost defies definition. It’s all at once pop, rock, jazz, punk and folk.
On first listen, Life Is a Flower…Life Is A Gun appears to be a schizophrenic jumble of different styles and genres, but repeated listens reveal an album of incredible depth, density and storytelling intensity.
That’s nowhere more evident on “Sylvia Plath”, a song which documents Aparo’s struggles with depression, and “The Square Boy”, an abstract tale about gender that he fashions into a beautiful, sad story with a haunting viola solo.
“Little Black Dress” harks back to his For Stars and Moon record and fuses some bizarre samples with an unforgettable melody, while “WTF” is one of the more immediately accessible songs on the record, despite its lyrical focus on how fucked up society is.
But the best moments of a captivating album are the brilliant “Bicycle Kings” which beautifully captures a sense of youthful innocence; and the haunting “The Science of Goodbye” which examines love and commitment through some brilliant lyrics.
Yes, Life Is a Flower…Life Is A Gun is a sensory overload at times, but it’s also a triumphant celebration of superb songwriting, artistic integrity and recovery against the odds.