I don’t know about anyone else but when I hear the name Asbury Park, New Jersey I think of the Boss aka Bruce Springsteen, a man with whom I also associate a great sense of pride in this country, both in terms of his epic arena rock anthem “Born in the USA” and his quieter take on the state of affairs around the country on his seminal solo record Nebraska. Although from now on when I think of Asbury Park I’ll also think of the wile-y alternative rocker Tony Appleseed and his rotating cast of merry men who hail from this burg.
How can you forget a man whose bio reads: In a reality where Donald Trump is leading the Republican presidential ticket, Venezuela is on the verge of a social collapse and Americans sit pacified behind their cell phones, escaping the world around them into an alternate reality where fear is rapidly digested and subservience runs rampant, Tony Appleseed is locked away in his bomb shelter which doubles as a recording studio, blaring through the megaphone, love each other and yourself, before it's too late.
Well since the release of Tony Appleseed’s latest effort Color Blind Donald Trump has clinched the nomination and I continue to see pacified Americans staring at their phones every time I leave the house. I’m not sure that Color Blind will do anything to change these things; it may however give those of us who feel sympathetic towards Appleseed’s plight a little bit more of a reason to go on hoping, and pretty good for doing so.
Color Blind opens with Mike Mastropierro’s phone message manifesto set to orbiting synths on “Catharsis.” The music becomes poppier on the piano driven pop “type 0>type 1,” though lyrically continues to explore the deeper problems of what is currently going on in our society as a whole as Appleseed documents “we're the slaves to Google gods / the touchscreen has replaced the knob” and “are these human parts inside? / or is evolution just the next step / to becoming A.I.?” Appleseed shifts his focus on society to grandiosely taking on the never- ending problem of racism on the title track, “Color Blind” which despite its serious subject matter still manages to entertain, sinking in its piano pop hooks.
Things get more experimental on the astral symphonic rocker “Komorebi” with its big swells of synth and stellar guitars which leads into the doldrumatic EDM-enclave on “The Thinking Man,” which also bleeds into the beautifully introspective “Lessons.”
Much like his hometown-hero predecessor Bruce Springsteen, Tony Appleseed is documenting his life and times and trying to make sense of everything around him by putting these feelings into his music. Whether you agree with his messages or not Color Blind is still worth a listen.
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