Unbearable is a stripped down, mostly acoustic, one-man show, dripping with feeling, but more than that, it's about the monumental effort it takes to express those feelings. And this, I think, is the most unbearable thing. "If I knew how I felt I would tell you," goes the first track's plaintive cry. I believe him. But then again, later, he admits, "I've had a bad feeling for most of my life," and now we're getting down to it.
You're either going to go for the earnest songwriting at work here, or you're not. His voice is honest, but not exactly pretty. The lyrics alternate between vague and concrete longing. "How many horror movies have we sat through? How many Sour Patch Kids, and how much Mountain Dew..." And sometimes, girl, Paul Baribeau still feels like he doesn't know you.
Paul wrote this album to make me fall in love with him, which is a mean trick, because the internet says he's in a relationship. (I checked.) "I am broken, bleeding wide open everywhere" is an open invitation to come along and put him back together again. Sounds messy, Paul.
Paul Baribeau plays the Zootown Arts Community Center Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 PM with Tyson Ballew, The Scribblers, The Whoopass Girls and To/From. $5.