Review: Searching for Meaning in Charles Copley’s Haunting & Hopeful Song, “Cedars 6S66”

Charles Copley © Mimi Raver
Charles Copley © Mimi Raver
Rich in sound and meaning alike, singer/songwriter Charles Copley’s “Cedars 6S66” offers a soothing alt-folk exploration of existence and mortality.
Stream: “Cedars 6S66” – Charles Copley

We will always have more questions than answers, but sometimes asking the right question is a (somewhat) satisfying answer in itself. Such is the case in singer/songwriter Charles Copley’s latest release “Cedars 6S66,” a soothing alt-folk exploration of existence and mortality that finds a deeper kind of catharsis within the artist’s search for meaning. Rich in sound and meaning alike, “Cedars “6S66” gives us pause to consider our own trajectories: Who we are, why we are, and what we’re doing here.

Cedars 6S66 - Charles Copley
Cedars 6S66 – Charles Copley
Nighttime fears, we drown in the bottle.
Blisters, no tears, no vacancy, no violence.
Cause I’ve seen years ransomed for nicotine,
but you would still find me here.
For what is right and what is wrong?
And what is life, that we prolong it?
Cause it could be tonight, it could be tomorrow.
What is life? Can we prolong it?

Released April 9 via indie label Distillery Recordings, “Cedars 6S66” arrived this spring as Charles Copley’s first offering of 2021. Hailing from Boston and now based in Los Angeles, Copley is a singer, songwriter and producer – as well as half of the new age folk duo Palm Reading, who create location specific recordings created using the biodata of native plants. Since debuting his Nightgown EP in 2017, Copley has steadily built out a multicolored, multi-textured artistry – one whose music fails to fit into any single category: Between 2019’s EP Slept Thru Summer and 2020’s jazzy, soulful single “Daydream” and vibey, RnB-tinged single “Beaches,” Copley has built out an impressive early resume that showcases an array of influences channeled through a poetic perspective.

Charles Copley © Mimi Raver
Charles Copley © Mimi Raver

“Cedars 6S66,” with its folky nature, ethereal production, and untethered questioning of life’s deeper roots, presents Charles Copley at his best.

“I wrote Cedars 6S66 a few years back while navigating the end-of-life of someone close. It took a while for the full meaning of this song to show itself to me, as is the case with some of the special ones. Over the last year, as we’ve all been forced to grapple with illness and mortality, the song took on a much broader meaning as a meditation on health, medicine of all sorts, closeness and distance. I was thankful to have dear friends, Nate Kerbin, Adrien Espy, Sophie Dover (Supreme Chilli), who helped me take the coda to another place, out of my own head and into a shared experience.”

Through the nighttime fears
with heart pills in a bottle.
No sunsets here, awakened as a monster.
Cause I’ve seen years of faith in electricity,
for you to never find me here again.
Wonder what is right and what is wrong?
And what is life that we prolong it?
Cause it could be tonight, it could be tomorrow.
What is life? Can we prolong it?

Copley gently embraces a slew of “nighttime fears” throughout “Cedars 6S66,” diving into the haunting depths we so often turn away from, until it’s either too late or we’re forced to confront them against our will. And despite not finding (or rather, offering) any answers to his questions, there is nevertheless something tranquilizing about Copley’s work; a sense of catharsis arises from the mere act of asking these questions, and allowing them to simmer on the mind. Perhaps the mere mindset of acknowledging mortality is enough to change how we go about our days, how we treat ourselves and those around us, and the identity we project within and to the rest of the world.

While a wave of warm voices and reverb-laden guitar falls over the ears at the song’s conclusion, what we’re left with is not the echoing of a sound, but that of an idea: What are we and who are we? Copley’s music opens a pandora’s box of rhetorical thought, and whether we’re ready to dwell in these depths or need to save them for another day, by embarking on his own journey in “Cedars 6S66,” he allows others to do the same.

We all, we all, just bodies on potions.
We all, we all, divided by oceans.
We all, we all, just riding emotions,
we all, we all, just bodies in motion.
Running through the night time fears,
when I can’t down in the bottle.

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Stream: “Cedars 6S66” – Charles Copley

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Cedars 6S66 - Charles Copley

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? © Mimi Raver

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