Jef Barbara’s English language debut, Soft to the touch quickly became one of my favorite albums of the past year or so, as the material manages a sly, winking wit backed by a slickly produced, shimmering glam and New Wave-inspired sound – but underneath the slick production, the glitter, and the satire, Barbara generously reveals a sensitive soul. Poking fun at the pretense and ridiculousness of being a singer/artist, the material’s narrators wonder how anyone can take them seriously. They naturally wonder if they’re just untalented or misunderstood, and they suffer from crushing isolation and loneliness. 

Chart Attack recently invited Barbara to record a live version of album single “Chords.” Consisting of gorgeously shimmering guitars, four-on-the-floor drums, and an incredible bass line, the song sonically bears a resemblance to the likes of The Cure, Joy Division and others, complete with a gorgeous guitar solo, which appears a bit later on this live version than the album version – while Barbara’s narrator sings about how loyal those poor chords are, as they’ll take a beating but will still be there for you every single day.