Aaron Lee Tasjan's Karma For Cheap
photos by Gabriel Barreto
Aaron Lee Tasjan can’t be boxed in. While many are characterizing his latest project, Karma For Cheap, as a new turn for the Aaron Lee we knew: a stylistic departure reminiscent of straight rock acts from Petty to The Beatles or a politically fueled piece...Tasjan has a different take. “A lot of the songs, I think, because of the world we’re living in currently, have been viewed by people as some sort of topical comment. But it’s not that. To me, it’s an album about getting yourself to a place in your life...where you can not only give love, but you can receive it. That’s a harder thing to do than a lot of people realize.”
If slightly stylistically different, the album - released August 31 via New West - stays true to Tasjan’s canny, perceptive, and wry observations that have drawn a diverse and enthusiastic fan base over the years.
“All of these songs are little messages to myself…’The Rest Is Yet To Come’, ‘If Not Now When” or “The Truth Is So Hard To Believe”....these are the things that run around in my head that I’ve tortured myself with.” says Tasjan. “When you’re able to finally step back and get a perspective and a grip on that...there’s the voice in our mind that speaks these things, and if you let it run wild sometimes it will take you to a really dark place. And you’ve got to be able to recognize that voice when you hear it and remember that voice is not in charge of you. You’re the one that’s in charge of you.”
While the project is not explicitly commentative on the current cultural climate; the narrative woven throughout Karma For Cheap hits vulnerable, personal, and utterly real points that ultimately drew Tasjan to pursue the project.
“This record is really about...I have a great affinity for humanity and I really believe in people and I really think that love is the greatest thing of all. And you can give it so frivolously in your life but to really be able to receive it is a special and powerful place to be. I feel like I’m finally getting to a place in my life where that feels good and right to me. So I wanted to make an album about that in the midst of all of this negativity that we’re facing.”
“You know, you never know how people are going to interpret it. But my hope is that people will be able to relate to the songs and find themselves in the songs the same way that I was able to find myself in writing them.”