The Pittsburgh-based alternative rock and post-grunge band, The Chad Sipes Stereo, recently released their latest album, Thoughts and Prayers. “It felt like the time to say something,” shares Chad Sipes, singer-songwriter-bassist of The Chad Sipes Stereo. “With this album, I decided to explore a narrative about the opioid crisis we face here in America. I am by no means an expert—I don’t want anyone to feel bad about taking medication—but I see something dangerous and very widespread.” The 10 song album has a musical mixture of Weezer, R.E.M., Green Day, and Pavement.
Each song tells a story of drugs, whether that be directly or indirectly. They tackle the issue from many angles, from parenting styles to addiction and the joys of feeling good. While the album is non-linear and the songs are not connected, the narratives still intertwine with each other. The album starts with “Every Single Kid” and ends with “Thoughts and Prayers,” starting with childhood and parenting styles that we all have in common and ending with the death of a recovered addict who’s years of abuse finally caught up with their body. The song “Therapy” takes us back to “Every Single Kid” lyrically and musically. They tackle the mental health aspect of pills singing “The ice breaks/The tears flow/The clock ticks/its time to go/Til next week we’ll start again/The progress comes from within/These kids need therapy.”
“Pill For That” is like an intermission within the album. It’s upbeat and more fun, giving the listener a break from the doom and gloom of the rest of the albums content. They acknowledge the good that pills do and even make fun with that singing, “My girlfriend won’t come back/there’s a pill for that too.” The song “Pharmacy” speaks on the creative ways people, especially younger, get high. Anything can do the job. “New Prescription” speaks on the medical community and Big Pharma’s role in the crisis, how they gave these pills to people and it turned into a problem.
Thoughts and Prayers is a thought provoking album with a 90’s anthem style. The Chad Sipes Stereo is Chad Sipes on lead vocals and bass, Erik Cirelli on the guitar and other noises, Jon Miller on guitar and engineering, and Nick McCall on drums. Chad was previously the bassist in Sodajerk, a touring band at the forefront of early 2000s alt-country. Despite his name being in the title, and he being the primary songwriter, The Chad Sipes Stereo is an actual band that has been together since 2010. To date, the band has released four albums and an EP. It’s previously-issued EP, DIG, was experimental, and its only single, “Extinct,” was edgier than past releases.
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