It’s been a decade since we last heard from Marnie Stern, but when her guitar bursts in like a shower of stardust on The Comeback Kid, the follow-up to 2013’sThe Chronicles of Marnia, it’s like no time has passed.
But this is no nostalgia trip.The Comeback Kid is a statement of intent. “I can’t keep on moving backwards,” Stern repeats on anthemic opening track “Plain Speak,” her fingers furiously tapping the fretboard as the song joyfully zips forward like a rocket hitting warp speed. Stern continually pushes herself outside of her comfort zone throughout The Comeback Kid, including not leaning on the tapping technique that launched a thousand Eddie Van Halen comparisons.“Til It’s Over” is as straight-ahead an “alternative rock” song as Stern has ever made and there’s a cover of Ennio Morricone’s “Il Girotondo Della Note.”
“It was so great to be able to start being myself again and when I would think, ‘Oh, is that too,too weird?’ I’d remember I’m allowed to do whatever I want! This is mine. It’s me,” says Stern of writing songs for The Comeback Kid. “I’m trying to go against the grain of this bullshit that when you get older, you lose your sense of taste. I want to empower people to not be so homogenous and go against the grain a little bit.”
Taking joy in your individuality is the message of The Comeback Kid, as is the realization that making music which truly reflects who you are in all your brightness and your weirdness is quite possibly the key to happiness. “This record is about reassuring yourself that happiness is not about what kind of things you have or how many things you have or what you don’t have—it’s about all the good things you do,” says Stern