THOUGH I TOOK PIANO LESSONS from ages 12 to 16 and studied guitar throughout high school — and also joined a handful of a capella singing groups — my musical output has been sporadic at best.
For Valentine’s Day 2010, I produced a six-song demo EP called Mike Critelli Presents… The Greatest Love Songs of All Time. I even created the cover art myself: a sloppy mash-up of Windows Clip Art and Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream:
I’d like to tell you it was well-received. In reality, it’s what prompted my parents to suggest I attend therapy (I didn’t). The tracks are ordered alphabetically, and also in order of listenability: least to most. Keep in mind that “most” is debatable, given that they were all recorded on an electronic eight track recorder right after I came down with a cold…
Been Around, Gotten Down — A hard rock anthem about being the ultimate ladies man.
Dreamcheater — A jazzy tale of nocturnal infidelity with “the girl of your dreams.”
Emerald Eyes — A Southern rock / Kings of Leon parody about a guy who doesn’t get metaphors.
How I Spend My Evenings — A funk track mixed with live stand up footage of a poetry reading.
She’s the One — A breezy pop tune about knowing when you’ve found “the one.”
When Women Say Things (Valentine’s Day) — A straightforward rock song based on a terrible Valentine’s Day misunderstanding.
But I would have never recorded Mike Critelli Presents… if not for the work I did in a band back in high school called The Adult Orchestra. Our biggest hit “I Grew Up,” was a catchy big-band-style tune about cancer that we recorded with live instruments at my friend Craig’s house (he also plays the piano). It’s a satire even my dad could appreciate — he compared me to a young Tom Lehrer — but we didn’t record much else except for a “You Don’t Understand,” a song about menstruation I played piano and guitar on and collaborated with my neighbor for lyrics. I submitted to an online music contest and it got panned across the board, and by one reviewer as “a sorority prank.” At least they thought we were in college…
I’m currently producing an album for a Clem Darling side project, for which some interesting music videos will surely follow. Can Mike Critelli actually work on serious music? Wait and see!