Any one person who manages to sound like an entire band is someone I have to at least respect. It’s not an easy task laying down drum track, singing, arranging and about a million other things. Shawn Harris is the creative brainchild behind Opus.
His recent release Dreaming Into Existence EP is in his own words “ refreshing take on the fading rap/rock genre, intertwining elements of progressive rock with a rap-like style vocal.” I will say that while not breaking the genre Harris tries to mix things up but if you were never into Linken Park then I highly doubt this will be something that will be up your alley. It should also be noted that Harris has a bit of Zachary Del Rocca thing going on with his vocal delivery.
Harris did a good job at creating a continuing theme (if conflicting thought) throughout Dreaming into Existence. Dreaming into Existence is an optimistic album about change and looking into the future. The thing that doesn't work as well is the indignant lyrics that seem to contradict the very idea he puts forth.
Lyrics like “Just a kid tryin' to make a buck through writing some little nursery rhymes No fuck that and fuck you I've got a plan to revolutionize man” against “As I ascend into a translucent state of mind I find the time to write these rhymes I might be high Let's split the sky” paint different pictures and philosophies. Harris goes back and forth between trying to bring about change through very generalized indignant anger or finding higher planes of existence through your inner self. It’s perplexing - are you The Dali Lama or Malcolm X?
Harris’s vocal delivery adheres to the typical tropes that you have heard before in the rap/rock genre. The overly exaggerated anger, the attitude, all feels familiar and something that artists have been imitated for the last twenty years.
Out of the eight songs there was a couple that stood out. “Ascension” has some solid music. Harris combines a number of different elements including orchestral strings and guitar into well thought palettes of sound. Harris’s intentions are good but the truth is that he gives simplistic resolution to very complicated problems. He declares, “The truth is, we are the Gods... But we've been fooled into giving our power to some higher God. If we cut the bullshit from our lives No more war No more poverty And we all just learned to live as one Heaven on Earth would eventually emerge” and mirrors the thoughts John Lennon had over 40 years ago with “Imagine.”
The concepts on Dreaming into Existence are about on par with the discussions college undergrads have after smoking a joint. That’s not meant to be an insult; it’s just about where this record lies though. If you still have some interest in the rap/rock genre then you will want to check this out. Harris doesn’t provide any answers other than expand your mind and let’s start a revolution but that’s ok because this is still just music.
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