Most Valuable Play: Selebrities

Selebrities’ Maria Usbeck shares her love for The Chameleons’ ‘Strange Times.’

Most Valuable Play Selebrities

MVP features artists and their favorite albums.

In this edition, Selebrities front woman Maria Usbeck talks about how The Chameleons‘ album, Strange Times, has influenced the way they’ve written music over the years.


When Selebrities got started it was a time when Jer and I (Maria) where mostly listening to The Chameleons’ Strange Times album. In particular one track—”Swamp Thing.” One night while in a car at a Miami parking lot waiting for friends to leave the club, we listened to the song about 20 times in a row. Each time it was better and better. “Seriocity” is also a track that really stood out for us. It’s more on the realm of romanticism but still has that powerful sense of self realization and hope.

As far as production, chorus guitars, piano, soft synth tones and the choice to use the very reverb-filled drums is what caught our attention and made us find this album so inspiring. The vocals and the way Mark Burgess communicates lyrics, he sings with so much passion. Huge influence in the way we went about writing the vocal lines in our first EP.

“I’ll Remember” is also one track, that with very little, says so much. The guitars, how they blend with the more organic sounds in the background. Creating almost an environment, an ecosystem of sounds. A perfect way to end an album.

We first heard about The Chameleons from a friend who runs a small record shop in Fort Lauderdale, FL called Radio-Active Records. Really happy that they were such a huge influence for us in the beginning. We quickly moved from post punk to a more straightforward pop vibe; but every now and then we’ll hear a track that’ll remind us of how much we love this record and band.

Selebrities’ new album, Lovely Things, is out now via Cascine.

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