“‘Cause I’m a million people rolled up into one. If you don’t know me you will know someone,” Galen Ayers sings on the opening track of her debut solo album. The song is called “You Choose” and is a playful study in ambiguity. The song is about becoming. Her words playfully mess with expectation. “If you want somebody who won’t let you down. You can count on me ’cause I’m already on the ground’
Monument is a complex album made up of deceptively simple elements. The music is sensual. The songs are lush while still being very economical. Galen is on a journey. She is many things, a writer, an ethnomusicologist, a daughter and an advocate. Music was always a part of her life, but maybe because her dad, Kevin Ayers was a founding member of Soft Machine and an icon of psychedelic rock, she put her creative energies to other pursuits.
Then, in 2013, her father died and Galen’s world changed forever. Music allowed her to process grief, loss and remake herself. Sprinkled throughout the album are images that very economically get at the complexities of life. “When you throw me a lifeline .you only tangle in mine” gets at the heart of conflicted relationships. In the song “Duet”, Galen sings, “I don’t want to know what you’re feeling. It’s my life you’re stealing,” as a thumbnail of toxic people. Galen makes me feel like I’m a freshman in college again, being enthralled by profound notions tucked into simple pop songs. You know, that’s not a bad thing. Galen can seduce me with her words and music anyway.