“I’m not a concept, I am real…”
Those of you who read this site regularly may recall that last month I went to the live concert performance celebrating the release of this album. It was one of my favorite experiences of the year.
I had previously heard one single from it (“Look At Me Now“) but was otherwise unfamiliar with the music when I went to see the show – although I was aware of several of the singers and musicians involved with the project.
In retrospect, I’m sorry I hadn’t heard the entire album prior to the concert, as I would have appreciated the show even more. But I have been living with this awesome music on constant replay in my car wherever I’ve gone for the past several weeks as I cannot stop listening to it. And when I’m out and about, I regularly catch myself humming or singing the various songs from it. I think at this point I’ve pretty much randomly sung all of them without thinking about it. And I’ve literally woken up singing or humming them on multiple occasions. This album is completely stuck in my head. I’ll tell you why in more detail below, but first let me tell you a little about its history.
Over a year ago, musician Mike Hill had the dream to create an album. So like many artists, he turned to Kickstarter to see if he could make it happen. Only it wasn’t just an album he wanted to make – there was a story that he wanted to tell about the creation of it and why he was driven to do it. So with the help of a lot of fans and supporters, he raised enough money to not only produce this album and coalesce an incredibly talented group of people to turn it into a reality, but he also gathered the funds to film a documentary about its creation. The documentary will have its premiere in Hollywood in January (and hopefully I’ll get to attend and write about it, too!). But the album was released last month and it really is an amazing achievement.
A concept album, this original work is unified by its theme of examining love and relationships against a pop and rock background. Featuring a different singer (male or female) on each track, and a range of sounds and song styles, the one thing that brings it together is how we are all driven by what we feel and experience in relationship to others. I love the mix of musical genres and relationship perspectives expressed here. And I love all of the musical contributions of everyone involved – from the songwriters to the singers to the musicians to the producers.
In any artistic work, one needs visionaries behind it. In this case, the producers not only did a terrific job with the practical side of production – from the mix to the instrumental choices, it all sounds rich and polished and professional. But they made absolutely perfect creative choices in combining the proper songs with their best singers. Each voice was just right for each selection. Each musical genre choice worked both individually and in harmony with the rest of the album. I loved the combined use of male and female vocalists and how they were interspersed in the track list. It all just WORKS.
And while I immediately fell in love with certain songs the very first time I heard them performed at the concert (ahem, “Paper Planes” and “Has Anybody Seen Her” – and I was already a fan of “Look At Me Now” before the concert), other songs took merely one listen on the album and I was hooked (hello, “Psycho” and “No No Go Go”), while others gained strong appreciation after merely a few plays (“This”, “Love & War”, “Unbroken”, etc.). But really, I love the whole album and all of its songs. And I keep playing them repeatedly again and again!
Breaking it down, however, it seemed to me each song had a strong hook and success potential with exposure and airplay and while I don’t really want to hear anyone else sing them besides those who actually did, if these songs were sung by contemporary popular artists, I note below who they seem most suited or similar to and who I think they’d be hit songs for if they got general radio play. Continue reading