CJ Teffner is on a roll with his second release this year, Stars. The four-track EP is a follow up to his previous EP The Cat’s Meow. “Stars is the most vulnerable, personal group of songs I’ve written,” explains Teffner. “I labored over them, stressed about them, I questioned myself if I could even dare to share these songs.” We’re very thankful that he did share them.
Stars heavily features Robyn Cage‘s vocals while Teffner provides the melody for each track. Teffner has previously said that: “Stars is an EP that I hope will draw you in and bring you to another place. A place of introspection and out of your day to day.” Stars certainly succeeds in bringing you to a calmer state. The EP is a perfect accompaniment to a meditation or yoga routine. Each track has elements of sound healing which, for me, is particularly effective in boosting my mood and clearing my mind.
Each song on the EP is dominated by acoustic guitar and piano. Some tracks also feature cellos and graceful sounds to accompany Robyn Cage’s voice; these sounds are emphasized particularly on “Crazy Train,” the opening track. Right from the get-go, “Crazy Train” puts you into the heart of the sound of this EP. It’s the longest-running track at 4 minutes and 28 seconds, and has the most varied melody. The chorus is a proclamation, “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.” This opening track pulled me into the EP and left me anticipating the rest of what was to come. Even after multiple listens, it stands as my favorite track.
“Meant to Fit” is a song of realization. Cage sings about her process of learning that she and her former significant other were simply not meant to be. Stars are also mentioned in one of the verses; when they come out, there’s “no need to point and shout” because they “said all they need to say.” And when they disappear, “I think their point is clear…they’ve said all they need to say.” The stars serve as a metaphor for the acceptance that comes with ending a relationship amicably.
“Stars” has one of the more memorable melodies with some electric guitar in addition to piano; it has a somewhat harsher tone than the rest of the EP and incorporates elements of rock. Cage’s vocals shine even over the heavier production. It’s clear from the first listen why this is the title track. It serves as a major standout on the EP and showcases a different sound that fuses well with the lighter production on the other three EP tracks.
“Please Forgive Me” is an apologetic track with the simple chorus “Please forgive me / I forgave you.” Cage sings about vowing to win back a former lover, and that her tears will “repave all these years.” The track is the perfect closing song, leaving you with the overall light, dreamy sound that encompasses the majority of the EP. It is a sad proclamation of love, an apology, a request, and a promise to a former lover to make things right again.
With Stars, CJ Teffner and Robyn Cage have created a beautiful, dreamy EP that demands multiple listens. The clear, meditative state that this album brought me into is one that I want to be able to replicate every day.
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