Songs We Love: St. Lenox, 'Just Friends'
It's hard to believe that Andy Choi, the gigantic voice behind St. Lenox, was an award-winning teenage violinist. That was back in the mid-'90s, a time the New York songwriter romanticizes to charming effect throughout his debut album, Ten Songs About Memory And Hope.
"Just Friends" is a soaring song that poignantly chronicles all the irreparable differences that added up to a pair of broken hearts. Choi spends the song trying to make sense of what went wrong: "You never could be on time and / I never was much of a lover and / I never could stand to lose an argument at a party." But Choi isn't navel-gazing here: He belts out his regrets with uncanny melisma, like John Darnielle channeling Tony Clifton. As odd as it sounds, it's a genuinely affecting affect.
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