Before I get into formalities, I’d like to say that this is an amazing album.
The biggest strength to me on Split Discs’ album Emar wasn’t the instruments or technicality; rather, it was the adept way that the overall story was still told whether musically or lyrically – so smooth were the transitions, that you often wouldn’t realize a song didn’t have lyrics until after it was over; yet, you could still follow every moment of the story with no problem at all.
I think the super soulful beginning to “Slam Dunk” is a really great way to start the album, as the story begins by describing that very first, strong realization of independence. The song rocks surprisingly hard at certain points and is balanced with a nice amount of pop and very clear lyrics that all help the storytelling along.
“Baby’s Gone” has super eerie undertones at the beginning, with haunting whistling and the sound of a baby’s toy opening the gates to a heavy, smashing chorus; Very artful storytelling without the use of instruments. Coming later in the album, “Paul” ended up being a lot sadder than I expected, though it was very short. That was quite an impactful song. Paul ends up becoming a paramount character, appearing later in the album; listen to this first to have a good foundational understanding of his character.
I have already gotten a melodic earworm from “Get a Job.” This is one of those songs that’s super easy to hum, and the key change midway further cemented my thoughts about it.
Then there’s “Three Whole Punches (feat. Matt Mariano)”, my absolute favorite song on the album. It reminds me of those super awesome old school metal songs. The energy and exuberance is palpable from the very beginning, though I love the lyrics which describe a scene where the subject does not want to fight but since he’s been provoked, he completely lets loose. This is a very dynamic musical battle to listen to.
“Best Friends” sounds like the 90’s, which gave me instant nostalgia. The autotune only made the nostalgia stronger and was a pretty awesome addition to the song though it was very unexpected (though by this point, I should have learned to expect the unexpected). It also brings the funk, big time.
“10th Grade” – This song seriously messed me up the head. I won’t ruin the surprise by describing what happened; I will just say that it is a must listen on the album for a number of reasons.
“Whoa Dude” is smooth – real smooth – and leads into “My Star,” which is pretty much everything. It combines so many sounds but still when this album ended, I almost gave a standing ovation to the air. As I prefaced earlier, the storytelling was so strong that I got the same satisfaction that I do from reading a really good novel from cover to cover. The wide range of influences, from soul R&B to heavy metal, came together almost as though they were meant to be together, and created a really fantastic sound. I do think it is best enjoyed as one full experience, but either way, Split Discs did a really good job with this album, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
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