Sometimes it can be easy to overlook the introspective charm found in quieter, more intimate songs. In my endless playlist I sometimes find myself skipping from one song to the next, consuming music in tiny portions without fully immersing myself in its transformative power. Lately, however, I’ve been attentively listening to some endearing indie albums.
This is a review of three albums that are mostly romance-themed and released around the 2010s. Fasten your seatbelts and prepare to uncover the hidden (or maybe not so hidden) gems that await us.
I will be reviewing the albums on four characteristics: album art (based on how much I like it), replayability, catchiness, and talent – as in the effort and skill that went into the music. These aspects will be discussed with a score out of 10 and I will conclude with my overall opinion. Music is all about preference, so remember that my judgement is subjective! The best album is saved for last, so make sure to read on (and don’t forget to check out 3 Chill Albums I’ve Listened to Recently).
Alex G – Trick
Alex G is an American musician with a quiet presence who has been recently gaining popularity for the album Trick, despite the fact that it came out in 2012. His guitar-dominated music was self-recorded in his room.
This album’s art gives off a feeling that I can’t quite put my finger on; it’s similar to nostalgia and pensiveness (pensivalgia?). It’s not super artistic, but I think the blurry dog characterises hazy production. In regards to atmosphere, this album feels quite uneasy to listen to, but at the same time, the melodies are gentle.
The replayability is around average, because the uneasy feeling would prevent me from listening to it on repeat. Some songs have really abrupt endings, probably to add to the disquiet, which also deducts points, as it makes the transitions a bit violent. Good examples of this are “People,” and “Whale.”
This might be a controversial opinion, but while certain melody lines are singable, holistically, I don’t find this album catchy. The sound is too fuzzy at times and the singing too whiny. The lyrics aren’t memorable, because they have an abstract stream-of-consciousness style and often aren’t structured cleanly into repeating verses and choruses. Compellingly, the singer has a very distinctive voice. It is sickly and puts the listener on edge (not necessarily in a bad way), contributing greatly to the previously mentioned atmospherical unease.
While at first I scored the talent of this album low, when I reconsidered the funky folk inspiration, I raised the score. The guitar-playing is also satisfying and of high quality. I really like the digital elements in certain songs.
Album art: 6/10
“My favourite animal is the whale: I like his big fat tail.”—lyric from Alex G’s song, “Whale”
This album is certainly worth listening to, as it’s quite popular and unique. It is a little boring, but I think the muffled melancholy could be appealing to other listeners. “Sarah” is my current favourite track, because I like its themes, and find it particularly replayable, and effective in conveying despondency. That’s what I like about this album: it authentically imparts emotion… it makes you feel something.
Current Joys – Wild Heart
Nick Rattigan, better known as Current Joys, hailing from Henderson, Nevada, presents Wild Heart. Current Joys may not be a household name, but has garnered a dedicated following, partly through the popularity of a few hits amplified by social media.
Wild Heart is a sad album about love. The album art is representative of the love part but not the sad part, and I think this choice conveys a bittersweet and longing feeling. Jumping into the music: every song is too similar to the others. I can say that the tracks are very replayable, but in the worst way possible.
I can make no distinctions between the different songs, which is a bad sign. It means not a single one stands out in instrumentation in a memorable way. This was probably done to symbolise the constant, colourless grief of losing a loved one.
Every track in this album has such repetitive guitar riffs – which are, to be fair, good – that I can’t rate the catchiness as anything remotely good. The songs are so unmemorable I can’t hum a single one of the melodies. The whole album pleads desperately for more clarity and structure. The guitar riffs should be reined in and elaborated on to create more contrast within songs.
The lyrics are also excessively repetitive, like in “My Blood,” when the singer repeats “It’s in my blood,” a shocking twenty-one times. Admittedly, the problem isn’t that I doubt the artist’s talent, but the stylistic choices bother me. The simplistic texture and … Sorry, I’m falling asleep just thinking about it… The simplistic texture, 80s beats, and fun guitar licks are respectable.
Album art: 6.5/10
“I tried to write a song I think you’d like.”—lyric from Current Joys’ song, “New Flesh”
When my friend recommended this album to me, I had a pretty good idea of what it would be, and I was correct and disappointed. This album is like white walls: boring and overdone. Listening to it, I felt like I was asleep in bed with a bad cold. My favourite song is Blondie. ‘Nuff said.
Faye Webster – Atlanta Millionaires Club
Atlanta Millionaires Club is an album that showcases Webster’s adeptness at mixing several musical genres together smoothly. The most notable ones showcased are R&B and folk. It is Faye Webster’s third album, the first of which was self-released.
Right off the bat, listeners can note that the album art is strange. It’s random, and doesn’t use any relevant symbolism. It’s done for the appeal of eccentricity, but it’s just not pleasing to look at.
A lot of songs in this album, at least for me, took several listens to see the appeal of. In fact, my ratings have increased considerably since my first impression, and it’s one of the albums I’ve re-listened to the most. Regardless, they are all peaceful and have classy and slightly vintage instrumentals, such as the brass instrumentation (probably saxophone). This creates a rich ambiance that makes the album very replayable.
Faye Webster has a simple but beautiful voice, and this album is liberal in showcasing it. Her vocal flips and brief interludes of humming are pleasing to the ear. She croons about a lost love in a relaxed and gentle way, particularly in “What Used To Be Mine.” A lot of the tracks are catchy.
The artist surprisingly incorporated rap in “Flowers,” while of course the album is generally alt-country. Although this album isn’t the pinnacle of innovation, I still think Webster does a great job of showing her unique talent and ingenuity.
Album art: 2/10
“The day that I met you I started dreaming…”—lyric from Faye Webster’s song, “Kingston”
Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this album. It’s authentic and charismatic; packed with a lot of cute love songs like petals on a rose. I find that despite its lack of anything to make it very unique, it deserves the hype it gets. My favourite track is probably “Right Side of My Neck,” because it’s just so sweet.
That’s a wrap for this music review; hopefully you’ve been inspired to listen to something new! I definitely had fun broadening my horizons. If you have any ideas for more album reviews, feel free to let me know in the comments!