We are clumsily approaching the new roaring ’20s, and we’re gonna need some real bangers once we’re all vaccinated and people start humping randoms with reckless abandon in the streets. While the pleasantly unexpected revival of Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” in A Promising Young Woman proved it is indeed still a JUSTIFIED bop, the quarantined people of the world surely deserve a more dramatic musical revival for the impending Great After. Re-enter: Chris Gaines.
Only real ones (who binged Pop-Up Video instead of playing outdoors with other children in the late ’90s) will remember Chris Gaines, the soul-patched alt-rock alter ego of Garth Brooks. By the time Brooks introduced Gaines in 1999, the country superstar had already demonstrated a flair for theatrics (see also: his epic video for “The Thunder Rolls”), but nothing quite as dedicated—or fucking bananas—as donning the identity of a fictional Australian soft-rocker with a moody side part and a pointy little soul patch. Brooks released one album as Gaines, a character he was meant to play in The Lamb, a movie that was ultimately scrapped. That album, Greatest Hits (or Garth Brooks In... The Life Of Chris Gaines), sold two million copies, and Gaines soon faded into a hazy legend occasionally recalled by millennials absolutely couch-struck by weed. Unfortunately, we’ve had little evidence of Gaines’ existence, as the album hasn’t been available to stream anywhere and, as Stereogum notes, is mostly absent from YouTube.
It appears that Garth Brooks has reached some kind of existential quarantine milestone, because the musician has revealed that he’s reissuing the Gaines album—with bonus material. NEW CHRIS GAINES SONGS. FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO HEAR. Brooks broke the news on his Facebook series Inside Studio G, where he said the album will be released “in every format you can possibly imagine,” adding, “You’re going to have Chris Gaines stuff nobody’s ever heard before either. I love that project, so I’m excited.”