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Much like his work with Trans Am, Phil Manley’s solo work blurs the line between parody and homage. He takes the most unappreciated genres and taps them for inspiration. With Trans Am, that could result in awesomely weird, mathy post-punk, or it could end up producing a legitimately corny ’70s arena-rock knock-off. Here, with “Make Good Choices” from his forthcoming album Lifecoach, Manley nods at yoga-friendly New Age and utilizes an open-tuned acoustic guitar atop the sound of waves crashing on the beach. If that sounds ridiculous, well, it is. Imagine a less earnest and soulful John Fahey, or an oversimplified Leo Kottke, and you’re in the ballpark. The song does reach a sort of catharsis near the end, with an almost harsh, climactic finale, but you have to be game for the shtick—-either actually enjoying relaxation soundtracks or finding pleasure in the spoofing of them—-for the song to be worth it. The video is naturally as tongue-in-cheek as the song title.
WATCH: Phil Manley – “Make Good Choices”