VMAN14

ARTICLE KARLEY SCIORTINO

PHOTOGRAPHY HEDI SLIMANE

CREDITS ARTICLE CONTENTS

HBD NICOLE KIDMAN

STATION TO STATION

CHRISTOPHER OWENS

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THE TRACK: SHURA - JUST ONCE THE VIDEO: CHRISTOPHER OWENS CIARA\'S BODY PARTY EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN

CHRISTOPHER OWENS

PHOTOGRAPHY HEDI SLIMANE
TEXT Karley Sciortino

FROM A NEW CULT IDOL TO A PHILOSOPHER OF POP, TO AN ALBUM ABOUT ALIENS, TO HIP HOP’S GOLDEN ANTIHERO—THIS YEAR’S SOUNDTRACK WAS WINSOME, WEIRD, OTHERWORLDLY, AND WHATEVER

Since the release of its star-making debut LP, Album, three years ago, San Francisco duo Girls has been the object of extensive indie worship. The September release of its sophomore effort, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, has made 2011 the band’s biggest year yet. An intoxicating blend of ’50s doo-wop and lo-fi grunge, the record has further intensified the world’s love affair with Girls front man and songwriter, Christopher Owens. By now many are familiar with his peculiar story: born into the extremist religious cult the Children of God, Owens spent the first sixteen years of his life traveling the globe en masse, heavily closed off from the outside world. His public openness about his past, as well as topics like drug use and his proclaimed sexual fluidity, are very refreshing. “A lot of my friends think it’s funny that I never put my guard up,” he says from behind a mass of tangled locks, “but for me it’s just easiest to be honest. Who knows? Maybe I’m being naïve.”

Today, Owens has everything we long for in a rock star: talent, depth, intelligence, and that heart-wrenching combo of natural flamboyance and masculinity. At live shows, if you listen carefully in between songs, you can actually hear the crowd exhale a collective sigh of longing. “If you look at history, some of the most macho rock stars, and the biggest sex symbols, were very effeminate—Mick Jagger, Aerosmith, all the hair metal bands. I think it’s fun to play with society’s perceptions of masculinity. I get a kick when people seem confused by me.”
As for Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the album has been bombarded with love from critics and fans alike. Owens’s own assessment of the record is simple: “We were fortunate enough to have no attention, support, or money when we made our first album. It was just two guys with a drug problem at home alone, making music we thought nobody would ever hear. But for the second record we had a band, resources, and money, so of course it’s better! It just keeps getting better from here.” 

MORE TO LOVE

THE TRACK: SHURA - JUST ONCE THE VIDEO: CHRISTOPHER OWENS CIARA\'S BODY PARTY EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN
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