Brooklyn’s Christina Rubino is not that. On her soul-bearing new album, Alive From The Scrapheap, every word, every lyric was drawn from her dramatic past living with addiction and losing parents. A deep, throaty voice reminiscent of ’60s Cher hovers over harmonicas, banjos, a bevy of guitars and a down-home feel that underscores the personal nature of the album. Inspired by ’90s infomercials for 1960s compilation CDs, Rubino decided to devote her life to music after a glimpse of Janis Joplin tearing apart the “Piece of My Heart” chorus. She brings that same passion to this album
On “Pending That Last Soul,” Rubino ponders freedom and the yearning for something more, a concept that all of us, but especially, she, can relate to all too well. The tracks on Scrapheap fluctuate from the hopeless realtalk and apologetic honesty of “Seems,” the rhythm-heavy laundry list of painful memories of “Little Bee In D,” and “The Gateway”‘s cautiously optimistic Dylan-like acoustic jangle. Many of the arrangements are gorgeously simple (try “Sticks and Stones”), but with heart-ripping lyrics like these, it’s the perfect combination. Scrapheap is intense, yes, but also an authentic, bleeding collection of self-penned songs that, nowadays, is a rare privilege to stumble upon.
Perhaps the overarching theme of Scrapheap is that despite whatever detours and emotional contusions one suffers, there is always redemption and another way out, somehow. Rubino herself says, “This album lays it all out. I was dead, and now I am free. I am grateful to God that I can share the experience, and my only hope is that somebody somewhere will know that they are not alone. As John Lennon said, ‘While there’s life, there’s hope.'”