Reviews

Legendz GC – Money feat. Prince Ink [Review]

By 44faced on Aug 04, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

The self-taught singer, rapper and musician, Legendz GC’s latest single “Money” captures talented lyricism together with good vibes and positive energy. 

Legendz GC has an uncanny ability to sound at home on a beat that is both party and chill at the same time, produced by STZ. Legend GC’s artistry is accentuated by his collab with Atlanta rapper, Prince Ink. Their teamwork on the track are like the constant and the variable in an experiment: Prince Ink holds down “the constant,” i.e. a repetitive melodic motive that loops around and around, entrancing the listener into the flow, and then Legendz GC comes in as the “variable,” changing up the vibe with higher energy pushing-and-pulling, up-and-down energy in his vocal attack. Legendz GC’s vitalizing energy coupled with his genuine and fun lyrical twists of wordplay, which he attributes inspiration back to hip-hop trailblazer Jadakiss, sound one with STZ’s beat: the vibraphone synth running calmly throughout the track, blended with a visual juxtaposition of the street life coupled with the high life on a beachfront property, alluding to the idea perhaps that getting money doesn’t detach the rappers from the streets—it only adds to it.

Check out the official audio of “Money” by Legendz GC feat. Prince Ink, produced by STZ: https://youtu.be/ogioOZ0N1rM

Like, comment and subscribe to his channel to stay up-to-date when Legendz GC drops new music, with more coming soon: https://youtu.be/ogioOZ0N1rM

About Legendz GC: Shaun Gordon, known by his stage name Legendz GC is an artist from Montreal, Canada. Legendz GC hasn’t limited himself to Canada’s borders, and has been spending much of his time state side (particularly ATL) honing his craft. The self-taught singer, rapper, and musician has committed himself full time to professional development and building his brand. Legendz GC has a sound that has a very lyrical feel and is composed with the sole intention of putting out good vibes and positive energy. Legendz GC draws his inspiration from his childhood and exposure to family members and individuals he looked up to. Legendz GC is lyrically inspired by Hip-Hop trail blazer Jadakiss, but demonstrates his versatility as an artist with his ability to put out Reggae, Trap, and RnB tracks, in addition to Rap. Legendz GC has recently completed projects with: Jimmy the Rocket, Chromazz, Prince Ink, and Grammy Award Winning artist Louie Rankin.

These Keyboard Leads Will Make You Go Woooow!

By 44faced on Jun 10, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

When P. John Livingston turns on one of his many keyboards, you can expect a virtuosic display of sensitivity, touch and feel to encapsulate your senses as he takes flight on his leads. Pure love of music and dedication to communicating a joyous flow fill P. John Livingston’s many keyboard-based tracks on his YouTube channel. Here are a few to go over:

1) CLASSICAL LEADS FIRST OF IT’S KIND IN THE WORLD – THANTHAANAI THUTHIPPOAMAE SONG

Depending on the keyboard it could be either a MIDI distorted guitar sound or a brass sound (I’d bet on distorted guitar), but within a couple of bars, it becomes clear that no matter what the sound he’s using, P. John Livingston has got that special knack that separates the great musicians from the ordinary ones: that his technical mastery of the instrument becomes his toolbox to simply enter into a zone of joyous energy that he wishes to communicate through his beyond flawless keyboard lead extravaganza. This song is sung by his wife, who also shares that flow with him, and after just a few seconds, P. John Livingston and his wife sweep you into a flight of harmonious intensities and interplays.

2) KEYBOARD LEADS & PITCH BENDER – FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD – AADHIYIL VAARTHAYAHA IRUNTHA SONG

Taking off where the first song finished, P. John Livingston adds an impressive display of control of the pitch bender wheel in his leads on “Aadhiyil Vaarthayaha Iruntha Song.” If the keyboard sound only mirrored a real distorted guitar, then you could close your eyes and think that you were listening to a great lead guitarist bending those strings. As a demonstration of this technique, this video holds much interest, however unfortunately the song gets cut off in the middle of its playing.

3) KEYBOARD LEADS -FIRST OF IT’S KIND – FIERY GUITAR LEADS – DEVA KIRUBAI ENDRUM ULLATHU

Oh, the joy of music! Wonderful connection between husband and wife on one hand, outstanding technical display of keyboard lead mastery on the other. In “Deva Kirubai Endrum Ullathu,” P. John Livingston switches from brass to distorted guitar, as if he picked up a guitar a few bars into the song, and continued to hover around the vocal intervals in such an amazing complementary way. The beautiful aspect of this song is in how, although such a legendary keyboard lead player playing so many notes and rhythms, that P. John Livingston also knows how to complement a singer, giving the singer the role they need to have, while filling in the keyboard role with such impressive fills.

4) FIERY KEYBOARD GUITAR LEADS – ANANTHA THUTHI OLI KETKUM SONG – FIRST OF IT’S KIND IN THE WORLD

The harmony of the spheres sings and plays with such joy, optimism and enthusiasm in the song, “Anantha Thuthu Oli Ketkum Song” by P. John Livingston and his wife. The seamless, effortless-looking demonstration of keyboard lead wizardry through distorted guitar and brass effects together with the beautiful singing of P. John Livingston’s wife makes me simply want to get out of my chair smiling, dancing and clapping hands. Despite the undeniable expertise on the keyboard that’s brought to the front in the titling, the sheer happy and pleasurable energy of the whole music is really what excites me more, with the lead playing being a major part of that. There is some encouragement by commenters requesting better production quality. Indeed, it would be good. But the rawness of the display of simply plugging in and letting go has a raw joy central to music’s main function in the world, like an Internet version of walking past people playing music and lighting up the atmosphere with joy. It should be an inspiration to everyone who is an upcoming musician and artist to not be afraid to simply plug in and record, that often the over-produced sound can actually miss out on what is captured in the raw moment.

Listening to more of P. John Livingston’s music, I don’t really have much more to say. In summary, the technical and musical virtuosity is all there, and he knows how to make it serve the more important factor of the energy that the music enlivens. It’s simply a joy to listen to and watch these videos P. John Livingston uploads on his channel. I will place a few more tracks here for your enjoyment, but go and subscribe to his channel to get all his updates:

Subscribe to P. John Livingston Piano Classics » https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9jW05hEle2fQUokdjmcokg

And here are the other tracks!…

5) KEYBOARD GUITAR LEADS WITH VARIABLE TIMING – BEING THE FIRST TIME – KIRUBAYETHAE SONG

6) FIERY PIANO COVER – LONG TIME AGO IN BETHLEHEM – HYMN – KURZWEIL ARTIS SE KEYBOARD

7) FIERY PIANO COVER – NEERARUM KADALUDUTHTHA – STATE ANTHEM OF TAMILNADU – MY OWN VERSION

Beazie x Hiroschema – Exterminate [Review]

By 44faced on May 30, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

“It’s that shit I wanna say but I can’t say right now.” Holy Smoke Records’ artists Beazie and Hiroschema lay down a compelling gangsta rap narrative track blending dirty south with Florida rap vibes. From the opening looping synth of a mellow electronic piano loop with guitar grazes and snare pops, at around 20 seconds in the hard-hitting boom bap kick and snare interplay enters together with Beazie’s raw grit vocal delivery with his semiquavering flows that lead to an emphasized final word line after line. Hiroschema continues in a similar rhythmic style, keeping the song’s continuity flowing without any standout gestures, with his uniqueness becoming expressed in his lower-register vocal range and delays on his emphasized final words in every line he spits.

The rappers’ rawness communicates strongly as both Beazie and Hiroschema focus on the story their telling over any wordplay or other lyrical tactics. The hook at around 1:30 barely sounds like a hook, but their realness is kept in tact as they show no intention of giving the listeners any candy, just the truth of what they want to tell: a story about old friends turning into enemies, wanting to go on and on about it but choosing not to in order to not be snitches and breaking street code.

Beazie is a rap artist from Jacksonville, Florida, signed to Holy Smoke Records. He focuses on painting a gritty picture of life in the Florida streets. Hiroschema is a rap artist from Jacksonville, Florida, also signed to Holy Smoke Records. His background in the hardcore metal scene shows with his high energy on the track and on stage. big heavy voice. gangsta rap with dirty south vibes.

Stream Beazie x Hiroschema “Exterminate” » https://youtu.be/L9FgTsky450

Subscribe to Holy Smoke Records on YouTube » https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF7Ikr2T1zHdq7OW_lm0Eag

 

000Andre – Switch Up [Review]

By 44faced on May 13, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Upcoming Minnesota artist 000Andre lets us feel the heat of the summer waving through in his energetic and fun single, “Switch Up.”

Reminiscent of the title, 000Andre switches up an outpouring of wordplay blending opposites in adjacent or even the same lines. Some stand out fragments of these include, “I’ma fix a wild nigga, my nigga shoot to care,” and “I got bad bitches, yeah I fuck ’em but I don’t kiss ’em… I’m lying to you, I admit it, I love these bitches.”

The summer atmosphere and positive energy already become established from the opening bars of a steel-drum-sounding synth loop, a chill vibe you could expect to pass by on a beach side—a vibe sustained throughout the track as a foundation upon which 000Andre switches up not only his play on words, but also his eclectic mix of hip hop, rap and R&B: Just half way into “Switch Up,” 000Andre shifts from lyrical rapping to vibe rapping with an R&B flavor. With the autotune triggered, 000Andre vibes a hovering melodic display.

In just one minute and fifty seconds, 000Andre flips through a wide array of desires, pleasures and goals, from love and sex, through beefs with others, through his money-making mission, through mentions of his little sister, and possibly other messages held cryptic in 000Andre’s context waiting to be deciphered. After its R&B-esque middle section, 000Andre returns to the original section he opened with, a first-rate showcase of using repetition in a short song to penetrate his main lines into listeners’ memory reserves.

But it’s not a track that aims at such a surgical analysis. You could have already listened to the song a couple of times by the time it took you to read this. Simply switch it on and let 000Andre switch it up for you.

000Andre

000Andre

Katiah One – Fight the Good Fight [Album]

By 44faced on May 12, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Every now and then an individual comes along who redefines the way we perceive a common perception. With rap, that individual is now Katiah One. Eclectic influences and a mission to change the perception of the average rapper erases the boundaries of the rapper we envision now, and reconstructs it anew.

Drawing influence from such artists as Freddy Mercury, Sam Cooke and Issac Brock, Katiah One makes his artistic goals clear: to impact the world positively. Throughout his new album, Fight the Good Fight, Katiah One’s positive energy is the common denominator penetrating every moment of every song. Vocally, Katiah One expresses total confidence through uniquely interesting flows that hold an impressive start-stop quality. Together with the production, giving such fragments a reverberated-to-heaven emphasis, Katiah One knows how to capitalize on his uniqueness, making them repeat throughout the songs to drill through the noise of the millions of rap songs uploaded today with memorable statements that formulate themselves into the listeners’ neural networks.

In the album’s first track, “We Livin’ the Dream (Nightmares)” he establishes this halting quality in the verses, hinting at it at the very beginning (“full time got us working on a life, riiiight, everyday I think I just miiiight”), and then he intensifies the repetition later on (“he got a lot that he don’t knoooow, got a lot that he don’t shoooow, say a lot that he don’t meaaaan”). However, Katiah One shows mastery of creating hooks from roughly 50 seconds into the track, using a simple-but-effective wordplay of opposites and repeating it to a point where the listeners’ ears bleed with strawberry ice cream from the constant pleasure-stroking of his hook delivery straight into the listener’s perceptual screen: “we’re living a dream, nightmares, we’re living a dream, nightmares, we’re living a dream, nightmares…”

DeeJay Element’s production already shines through with its own unique characteristics and strengths in establishing a four-chord-style vibe with subtle additions of intensities with added punch in the drums in hooks, while the melodic and chordal material more or less loops throughout—a perfect basis for lyricists to hover themselves in, around and through. Katiah One takes the guitar-looping beat of DeeJay Element, and weaves his style upon it in “What’s the Word About Now?” – the album’s second track. Katiah One uses braggadocio lyricism to paint his position in life in this song with a continuously rolling flow with numerous “oooh” moments of wordplay creativity.

In classic third track style, “Yo Yo Ho” changes up the feel. From the opening synth stabs, it’s clear that a different aspect of Katiah One’s life is about to hit home. At around the one-and-a-half-minute mark, the song takes a turn for the… interesting! It immediately made me think why don’t more artists do this? Katiah One draws back the pace half-fold, effects smudge the atmosphere, and without delving too deep, the sensation of an unclear faded absorbs you into its swaying vibe, and from its repetitive, dissolving “Yo Ho Ho, and a bottle of rum” Katiah One comes in, with a expertly-layered array of effects over the drums and vocals, rapid-firing some lines. Here, Katiah One clearly shows his eclectic influences coming through, and how he’s willing to go into avant-garde territory to portray a rare depth in the genre.

Lyricist flows unload throughout “Stop This,” padded together with a hook in Katiah One’s token start-stop emphasis with the reverb on the final word of each line that he’s branding into his output track after track: “All my people really want is them options, hey, all my ni…. really want is them hooooes, all my people want is hot shit, hey, can’t nobody really stop this, noooo.” Another hook constructed of a not-so-obvious word cluster that come together into a unifying harmony through Katiah One’s flow and delivery mastery.

Every one of Katiah One’s words sounds as if he has a message he needs to get out into the air, as if sweating through his pores. This is one of the aspects of his positive energy: the feeling that from within, he has something to give and he needs to give it. There is no audible, tangible way of defining this sense of motivation that comes across, or rather, the entire enveloping aspect wrapping every syllable crafts that energy into the overall experience.

Katiah One’s vocals and lyrics both communicate maturity, both in delivery and in content. The album’s fifth track, “I’ma Say What I Really Feel,” continues Katiah One’s “jabba-jabba-jabba-jabba-hook” style of flow as he accentuates the end of his lines and keeps the hooks repeating anthem-style with stadium-esque reverbs that fills the sonic space with his expansive vocals upon beats laid out like red carpets under his rolling ‘n’ stop highlights. “I’ma tell ’em all that I’m rich, ayy, I’ma let ’em know you ain’t shit, bro, I’ma say what I really feel, right, I’ma tell ’em all how to deal, ho” – get ready to have this hook streaming around your head with a four-chord piano-stabbing ostinato continuously playing throughout your days after listening to this gem.

“Pledge” is the album’s last track, a seeming word both to Katiah One’s haters and non-believers, and also to himself, as he states his up-and-coming place as an artist in New York City. From a first verse of a very personal deluge, he shifts into a torrent of his pledge to be a voice of truth in a big city (New York City) that has made a gush of big influential figures in the world.

Stream Katiah One’s Fight the Good Fight on Spotify » https://open.spotify.com/album/59dL8GMqSB94JXh5Mv0lGr

Stream Katiah One’s Fight the Good Fight on SoundCloud » https://soundcloud.com/okaynyc/sets/fight-the-good-fight

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V12 – What You Need

By 44faced on May 12, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

 

The straight-to-your-face Boca Raton rapper V12 gets his priorities straight on the money in his single “What You Need” featuring Arenbe Williams.

From the opening distorted synth loop and grating sample, “I don’t care what she looks like, we don’t care what she looks like, as long as she’s attractive,” leading straight into the song’s hook…

I don’t need a pussy, bitch I need a bag
Can’t fall in love with hoes, ’cause I’m low in cash
If you ain’t talking money, I won’t answer back
And bitch if don’t like it, you can kiss my ass

I don’t need a pussy, bitch I need a bag
Can’t fall in love with hoes, ’cause I’m low in cash
If you ain’t talking money, I won’t answer back
And bitch if don’t like it – kiss my ass

…V12 makes it clear that he’s getting he’s out-prioritizing women with making money, and continues talking certain experiences with women that led ultimately to this mindset.

The beat and vocal outpouring is straight up: there are no emotional beat shifts or major gestures: V12 makes it clear he’s out to lay down what’s on his mind, and doesn’t care about the contemporary rap landscape of auto-tunes and over-produced adlibs.

The voice and production has a raw, grinding and raspy quality as V12 pushes out each line with an intensifying emphasis that leads to a climax. With total clarity and confidence, the rapper is able to penetrate his messaging upon the 808-bouncing beat, weaving the listener into his flow to focus in on his emphases. Arenbe Williams’ entries add different speeds and intensities, making the unusually longer over 4 minute song very listenable. Overall, V12  is clear, precise, athletic in his emphases, who shows that he can construct a song through laying down what’s on his mind.

About V12: V12 is a rapper from Boca Raton, FL. Now residing in Las Vegas, he is ready to let the world hear his sound after a 9-year hiatus from the music game. Previously in a music group as a young teen, V12’s music has developed into a mature sound. You can follow V12 on Instagram and stream his music on Soundcloud.

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Heistheartist – Bright Ideas Part 2

By 44faced on May 05, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Porn star turned singer-songwriter, Heistheartist, molds a lush and intimate atmosphere driven with an emotionally heartfelt approach to singing and songwriting, weaving in, out and between pop, folk and R&B. 

The opening track, “Bright Ideas Part 2,” quickly establishes an acoustic guitar-filled sound scape: the guitar becomes both a drum kit driving the song’s rhythm with mellow, muted plucks with such luscious production and engineering making it sound as if you’re surrounded by guitars playing right up against your ears. Vocally, Heistheartist freely adlibs an R&B-esque, eyes-closed, full feeling strokes of melody, fading in and out, riding above the percussive and quasi-melodic acoustic guitar ostinato, descending from the enveloping melodic adlib free space every now and then with some suggestive spoken inserts, “these hoes ain’t loyal, they got bright ideas.” Is he depressed about women going disloyal on him? Is he just having a good time making music and having fun with those words? From the music itself, you cannot tell—nor do you have to. The irresolution adds spice to an already-hypnotic vibe that portrays an image of a man with his guitar, completely immersed in the feel of what he’s playing, eyes shut tight, where each melodic line pouring out from the heart feels like another release of energy following another release of energy, encasing the listener into the alluring sonic space that Heistheartist paints.

The following 2 tracks, “Ooh Aah” and “In Public,” are created in collaboration with Zieme The Dream from the Force MD’s in their duo “I Had A Dream.” “Ooh Aah” turns up the heat and dims the lights in the room, with a repetitive layering of voices sexually entrancing a foreplay-teasing contact, perfect for the lovers’ slow dance in a candlelit setting. The energy becomes calmer and more soothing than in “Bright Ideas Part 2,” as if to close the night with your lover. Kiss-like percussive snaps, shimmering bells, enveloping up-and-down sweeps, together with licks of acoustic guitar sliding, absorbs the listener into a mesmeric, affectionate and subtle ambiance.

As if immediately changing to a faster gear, “In Public” sets off on a completely different wavelength. Still subtle, still ambient, still mellow and affectionate, but out of the bedroom and into the public: Heistheartist’s collaboration with Zieme The Dream here acquires a much more passionate and extroverted form. The vocals clearly express the desire to show their love to their partner to the world by holding hands and kissing in public. More optimistic, outgoing and resolute in nature than “Bright Ideas Part 2” and “Ooh Aah,” “In Public” makes use of brighter instrumentation, most notably a Rhodes-style organ sound coming in relatively sparsely adding to the positive vibes, as well as percussive shakers, and an often-climactic rhythmic build-up leading to the hook that often repeats, “I wanna hold your hand when we’re in public, I wanna kiss your lips when we’re in public, I wanna hold your clothes when we’re in public, I wanna show you how I feel, and let you know my love is real.”

Heistheartist shows he’s got what it takes to lift the heart, fuel an intimate optimism into his listeners, and his music is an invitation to enter a subtle, harmonious world of passionate affection.

In Charlottesville, A Recent Symbol of Social Division, Pale Blue Dot Make a Stand for Unity

By 44faced on Apr 26, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Stemming from Charlottesville, VA, a city with a relatively small population, but which sports a certain intensity that keeps making worldwide headlines, Pale Blue Dot are making a stand for unity.

As I write this, Charlottesville is the geographical source of a new presidential campaign for Joe Biden, launching with an anti-Trump message. Also, the discordant ripples from the 2017 Charlottesville protests still shiver through the air today.

As social division runs increasingly pungent in the air today, it is my hope that the unifying tone that Pale Blue Dot stand for in their single “Only Love” will make a larger socially-connecting impact from Charlottesville than any divisive messaging, marking a positive tilt in the scales of human consciousness.

Balancing a driving acoustic-rock groove among a horizon of optimistic atmosphere, Pale Blue Dot’s single “Only Love” teems with a unifying, positive message in its every detail: in its music, lyrics and production.

An immersive immaculate sound tweaked to perfection quickly becomes felt the moment the drums, bass and the acoustic guitars set the rhythmic drive, and soon afterward, the ambiance starts taking flight with the entrance of the Hammond M3 organ with a Leslie can, and Tony LaRocco’s vocals making an entrance, signifying the questioning of one’s current state and the need to push beyond it, and Pale Blue Dot masterfully drive the intensity to a joyful resolution in the song’s hook—“Only love, it’s only love”—the harmonious, universal message that love will cover all doubts, divisions and conflicts that can arise.

Pale Blue Dot display virtuosic proficiency in their feeling for space and intensity using minimal elements to achieve a flavorsome spirit of continuously building and rising fervor throughout: splashes of cymbals, freely singing saxophone lines and beams of clean electric guitar licks. Female vocalist, Yolonda Jones enters in the second verse pulling back from the settling satisfaction of the hook, spicing up the lyrical scenery with touches of what would happen if a social environment of love and unity were breached: where all it takes is one person to rupture the positive ties, and then the relationships will all shatter once again. And from this discernment surfaces once again the song’s resolve: “only love.”

One of the beautiful aspects about Pale Blue Dot’s “Only Love” is how the music itself mirrors its unifying message: such exquisite harmony becoming possible through all members focusing on complementing one another, entering into a mutual flow that envelops the music with an exuberant elated energy, no member appearing more or less important than another, but all come through as equally (and very) important, attentively listening to, and carefully adding to, each other.

Pale Blue Dot are intent on promoting a positive message of love and unity with their single “Only Love,” and their very own integrity support that message with a practical example of togetherness.

 

Pale Blue Dot’s latest album “Anatomy” is available now. Go to palebluedotband.com for more information on upcoming projects.

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Lofi Hip Hop Drum Kit – Samplified Essential Sounds

By 44faced on Apr 10, 2019 in Reviews - 0 Comments

As Samplified expands, they continue to bring different genres of production and create tutorials to assist in production efforts. To listen to Samplified’s current sample packs, you can visit their SoundCloud. You can keep up with the latest updates on future sample pack releases on their Official Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Lofi Hip Hop Drum Kit

Samplified - Lo-Fi Chill Kit
Get the Samplified Lo-Fi Drums Essentials Pack Here »

Lo-fi Sounds and Drum Kit ‘Lo-fi & Chill’

Samplified - Lo-Fi Chill Kit 2

Get the Samplified “Lo-fi Sounds and Drum Kit ‘Lo-fi & Chill'” Kit Here » 

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Brian Hutson – Habit

By 44faced on Mar 18, 2019 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

There’s a sweetening of hardships that runs through Brian Hutson’s debut album, Habit, named after the critical acclaim of his EP Midnight Sessions and Billboard Top 100 success of his single “Habit” released in the fall of 2018.

How can Brian Hutson’s depictions of lost love, lust and heartbreak—life’s troubles—be so pleasant? It’s because he relates not to present anguish, but to past strains that have already passed, were sweetened, and received their fulfillment and restrengthening in a renewed Brian Hutson. The reflections on the pains he had been through in the past couple of years become sugarcoated and part of a more grownup Brian Hutson as he summarizes his own unique story for the world in a search that every artist ultimately works toward: admiration, appreciation and love.

The 10 tracks of Habit have Brian Hutson doing what the world’s best singers do: treating the recording studio both as a confession box and as a self-affirmation podium, with the world listening on the other side of the soundproof wall. Just 30 seconds into the opening track, “Finding My Feet,” has Brian Hutson already riding a transition toward the first epic chorus with an expression of loneliness after a broken relationship: “Lying on an empty bed with words still left unsaid,” as he then heads solidly into a heartfelt chorus, sacrificing some verbal simplicity for an elaborate word painting communicating the essence of finding the strength to pick oneself up and move on with life after a breakup.

The recurring theme of Brian Hutson’s love life connections, detachments and resurgence as a stronger individual thanks to pushing out of the emotional struggles play out hand-in-hand with masterful pop-rock production inclusions of recurring pluck-picked clean electric guitars, melancholic piano, sweeping synths, touching leads and vocal adlibs and doubles that add that extra oomph and echo right where the songs require it.

The transformation Brian Hutson underwent in the past two years as a person, changed by his relationship experiences, becomes enveloped throughout the album in a reflective optimism and hope. “I Swear Someday” encapsulates the pursuit of intensifying a relationship through his skillful pop storytelling devices that reveal one portion of a circumstance, concealing two other portions, thus leaving his listeners to fill in the gaps with their own context.

Brian Hutson carefully caresses his voice through his beloved cardioid microphone receiver, the inanimate listener positioned willing and ready to absorb every nuance of his finessing and fully-controlled vocal delivery, and with total comfort and calm, pours out his insecurities in the repetitive-albeit-unanswered question—”Do you love me?”—in the album’s third track, “Love Me Anymore.”

Already three tracks in of rises, falls, optimism, hope, reflection upon the past, affirmation toward the future, love, lust, breakups, heartbreaks, connections and separations—the scene is set for Brian Hutson’s first lead single “Habit” on the fourth track to hit home. The decision to release this single, and the reason it rose up the Billboard Top 100 last year becomes as clear as day the moment the distorted-guitar-like synth triumphantly opens the curtain of an epic hook 33 seconds into the song: “You’re my habit…”

Together with the lyrical reveal-one-portion-conceal-two-portions aesthetic aligning Brian Hutson’s approach with that of many-a-great songwriter, it could just be me, but when you listen intently to the lyrics, you miss a whole bunch of words, raising more questions as to what he’s actually saying. Since today is 2019, then I have to say, this is great. In a world where everyone’s seen and done everything, and less and less is impressing us from one day to the next, then such subtle change-ups as hiding some words under a question mark as to what was verbalized are exactly what can convert just-listening fans to fans who clack away at their keyboards on sites like Genius.com trying to work out what’s being said and what’s going on.

This is definitely a unique characteristic of Brian Hutson’s music: a surface seeming simplicity, where the more you listen intently, the more subtle complexity you discover, serving multiple layers of interest in a single, heartfelt transmission.

Pianos move to the front, acoustic guitars strum out in the background, and vocal layers fill out the center and sides as the album heads into rock ballad territory on “Dream,” where the lights go out, the lighters turn on, but you don’t see them anyway because you just want to close your eyes and soak up the symphonic layers of exultation that ecstatically consume your every cell. Once again, a complex layering of many subtleties leading to a very basic result: music that is simply beautiful.

As full as “Dream” is, “Anything Can Happen” allows for space to shimmer out again, entering with an acoustic-guitar-led sparseness opening and driving the verses as Brian Hutson meditates on the beauty of his love, until the instrumentation’s intensification combines with his shifting into the sheer joy of physical contact with his love, “And when we touch, when we kiss, and become one, an eternal bliss, all we hold true, is all that I am, I am for you.”

“Thought You Should Know” and “This Is It,” the album’s final two songs before a couple of club remixes set in, lead out Habit in classic style. A true world of experiences—ups and downs, intensity and calm, past reflections and present-to-future affirmations—the lead-out tracks take us through one last valley, a tranquility in “Thought You Should Know” and as a flame that gives a final spark before it goes out, “This Is It” asserts a final Beethoven-like triumphant ending, not Beethovien in style, but in feel. That is, a forward-looking optimism coated in a repetitive upwardly-moving chord progression, leading to a culmination of all those elements that Brian Hutson’s album consistently maneuvered to pour his heart out to the world: “Here, do you hear it beating?” He didn’t actually say that, but it’s the undertone throughout the entire album.

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