Comedic musician pulls off rare feat

A comedian with a guitar: when it’s bad, it’s aggravating (Is this supposed to be funny because it rhymes?). But when it’s good, it’s great. Christy Murphy, who has the musical background to fully compliment her comedic personae, pulls it off perfectly on her “Feeling Good Looking Good” CD.

With the help of a pickup rhythm section, and her own voice in place of backup vocalists, Murphy sings her take on single life, creepy guys, halting self improvement, and women (like her) who are “stealth hot” instead of the obvious kind.

Musically, “Feeling Good” has a Jonathan Richman-like appeal. Murphy writes beautiful pop songs with an unerring sense of melody, addicting hooks and simple but spot-on rhythms, and sings them in a vulnerable yet unafraid DIY style.

She holds forth upon the subjects of her songs at times with wry frustration, at other times with hope or a little sadness, and always with an underlying sweetness.

Pretty much every song is a highlight:

“Creepy Guy” is sung to the title character, silently explaining to his “weirdo guy brain” that he can’t casually kiss and hug Murphy just because he sees the cool, handsome guy do it. “The last time you touched me I felt my tubes tie themselves,” she sings.

“My Passive Aggressive Friend’s Thinly Veiled Hostility Makes Me Nervous,” with its pleasing surf/doo-wop vibe, is only slightly longer than its title.

“Single Girl’s Love Song” is a charming, poignant contemplation on whether singleness and happiness can go together. She also sings the song for free on a youtube video, with clever animation and additional direction by comedian and actor Brett Gilbert.

Back to the CD, Murphy sings an uplifting take on ordering pizza for one, and a life in which she might “die alone and be eaten by one of my cats – can I get a medic alert bracelet for that?”

On “Learning Annex” she sings of the sweet and fragile promise of how we can change our lives in a weekend. Can we?

The vignette rocker “Not So Cute” features hot fiddle by Murphy’s sister Edie as it explores the wrongness of observed characters such as “drunken frat boy hitting on Denny’s waitress.”

“Nervous Breakdown” is appropriately moody and portentous, and the quietly driving “Stealth Hot” combines supple songwriting with insightful humor.

“Stealth hot girls have mad computer skills, while regular hot girls are just whores,” Murphy lilts.

“Those girls are obvious sensations but I shake my ass in quadratic equations…stealth hot!” she rocks.

Murphy ponders sweet and introspective on “Sometimes I Do,” naked of comic guile. It’s a beautiful little song.

“Fourth of July Song” is a compact, clever, “one-two-three-Fourth of July” number about another drunken dude, and “Christmas Song (Six Pack for Saint Nick)” is a sneaky holiday sing-along that should become a classic, at least for anyone with questionable designs on the fat man.

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