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Corey Dargel is a “baroquely unclassifiable” (New Yorker) composer, lyricist, and singer of “elegantly skewed” (Time Out New York) electronic art-pop songs that stir the heart and delight the mind. His gentle assault on the pop idiom creates a tension that pervades his music: deadpan and detached vocals reveal heartbreaking intimacies, awkward and obtrusive drum patterns struggle against fragile harmonies, vocals and music uneasily opposing each other as songs stumble to their ends.
Other People’s Love Songs is Corey Dargel’s New Amsterdam debut, based on an earnest and sentimental concept: All thirteen songs were commissioned by individuals as gifts to their significant others. Corey Dargel – composer, lyricist, and singer – interviewed the couples and learned all about their histories, personalities, quirks, private jokes, and emotional lives. He spun this tender data into music and lyrics that encompass a wide range of feelings. The real-life subjects of these songs range from celebrities to the “couple next door.” Newlyweds, long marrieds, gay couples, siblings, daughters, mothers, and others stepped forward to commission these songs. At times, the results are almost voyeuristic in their intimacy.
The album received equal praise for the unique content of the songs as well as Dargel’s compositional ingenuity. George Grella of The Big City praises that “every song seems to capture a different facet of a complex, adult, human emotion” as well as the “quirky and off-kilter, eccentric accompaniments that give an experimental and interior aspect to the songs.” He has likewise been lauded for his “incredibly fine-tuned ear for lyric-setting and a knack for writing melodies that twist unpredictably” (17 Dots) and “keen eye for the small, quirky details that are uniquely personal to each relationship” (Music, Musings, and Miscellany). The project was also featured in a deeply personal interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition, in which host Alison Stewart paired Corey with some of the couples that commissioned the songs to talk about the process and results.