Chilling the Blood, Then Drinking It

Chad Van Gaalen

Chad Van Gaalen's songs often return to themes of alienation and internal — even biological — rebellion. Wilkosz & Way hide caption

itoggle caption Wilkosz & Way

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Red Hot Drops"
  • Artist: Chad VanGaalen
  • CD: Skelliconnection
  • Genre: Alt-Rock

A lamentably unheralded Canadian singer, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist, Chad VanGaalen writes songs that often return to themes of alienation and internal — even biological — rebellion. His strikingly humane U.S. debut, 2005's Infiniheart, views the enslavement of humankind and individual human loneliness with the same winsome intimacy, in the process making them feel strangely related.

The new Skelliconnection feels a bit slicker, but while it sacrifices some of its predecessor's aching poignancy, it still metes out a few surprises. A vivid and unnerving ode to vampirism, "Red Hot Drops" does an exceptional job capturing its subject's sinister allure — the surrender and ease of "draining with no pain" — before rupturing into a rare moment of oddly funky release.

With a backdrop of skittish drum machines and whirring synths, the song's breezy but uneasy buildup aches with strangely lilting sadness. Exuding playfulness while oozing world-weary exhaustion, "Red Hot Drops" feels simultaneously mournful and exhilarating, chilling the blood while celebrating the bittersweet pleasures of drinking it.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Skelliconnection

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Infiniheart

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