The Heavy Goes Heavy On The Old School Funk, R&B Again On ‘Sons’

Courtesy: ADA

Over the course of now more than a dozen years, funk-rock group The Heavy has made quite the name for itself with its music being used on television, in video games, in advertisements and even in the realm of politics.  Along the way, the band has released four full-length studio recordings, building its name as one of the most well-known and respected acts in the music community.  The band continued that success this spring when it released its fifth full-length studio recording, Sons.  The band’s latest recording does not necessarily break any new ground for the band, but at the same time does not necessarily just repeat the sound of the band’s previous albums.  To that end, the album deserves at least one list.  The album’s largely positive lyrical themes make it even more deserving of that listen.  ‘Better As One,’ which comes early in the album’s run is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Burn Bright,’ the album’s closer, also supports the noted statements and will be addressed a little later.  ‘Simple Things’ is another of the album’s entries that serves to illustrate what makes the album wroth hearing, both for its lyrical and musical content.  When it is considered alongside the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s additions, the whole of the album proves to be a positive new offering from The Heavy.

The Heavy’s latest full-length studio recording Sons is a positive new offering from the funk-rock outfit that solidifies the group’s place even more as a viable musical organization.  That is proven both through the album’s musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced in part through the song ‘Better As One.’  The song’s musical arrangement wastes no time taking listeners back to the 1960s and conjuring thoughts of the late, great James Brown with its horns, drumming and vocal delivery of front man Kelvin Swaby.  The combination of those elements makes the song’s arrangement a work that despite coming in at just under three minutes, a work that is instantly infectious and one of the record’s best moments.  The addition of the clear social commentary featured in the song adds even more interest to the song.

Swaby sings in the song’s chorus, “I know that we can do better/I know we’re better as one/I know that we could do better without evil on our tongue.”  He continues in the chorus, “Can we take the head from the beast/That insisted we’re all different.”  Swaby is just as direct in the song’s second verse, as he sings, “If I was ignorant, I’d roll the dice/I’d roll with the evil eyes/I’d roll with the idiot/That lays the shame and plays dangerous/I’d forget all about it all/I’d forget all about a wall/I’d forget all about the mean/Of a human being/Nothing good at all.”  That verse, along with the clearly socially conscious verse, leaves little doubt as to the topic being addressed here.  The song is making note of the divisiveness within the nation today.  The note of “the wall” comes across as an indictment of Donald Trump and his comments about building a wall at the U.S./Mexico border.  Simply put, the song’s lyrical content is a commentary that will reach plenty of listeners.  When it is considered along with the infectious groove of the song’s musical content, the whole of the song makes it a clear example of just why this album is a positive new effort from the group.  It is just one of the songs that illustrates so well what makes the album well worth hearing.  ‘Burn Bright,’ which closes out the record, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Burn Bright’ is a distinct change of pace from ‘Better As One’ both musically and lyrically.  Where ‘Better As One’ presents an upbeat, infectious groove in its arrangement and a socially conscious statement in its lyrical theme, the musical side of ‘Burn Bright’ is far more reserved.  This song’s arrangement is a much more soulful work that will appeal to fans of acts, such as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, J.D. McPherson and other similar acts.  That is thanks to the use of the chorus and the song’s overall instrumentation with its guitars, drums, bass and drums.  That slower, more reserved nature of the song’s arrangement plays well into the seeming personal story told through the song’s lyrical theme.

In regards to the song’s seemingly personal story, it comes across as the subject telling another person of the positive effect that said person has had on the subject.  Whether that is on a romantic or general personal level is left for discussion, but regardless, still works.  The seeming story is inferred as Swaby sings in the song’s lead verse, “I was walking in the wrong direction/I was walking like a man on a wire/Couldn’t keep it for my own protection/Couldn’t keep it from the fire/Stayed dead through my heart/Can’t be dead/Stayed dead ‘cause my heart won’t lie/Just waiting for the one salvation/The same one to make it alright.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “And even when I was building with impatience/Never made it to the mile long mile/Kept busy on the worst locations/And stopped following my ride/’Cause the desk ‘gon work with the devil/That desk ‘gon  take you for a ride/Be ready for the ramifications/of being crippled inside.”  From there, he sings in the song’s chorus, “You make this life burn brighter/You take away my pain/Break me from the chains/To keep us burning brighter.”  Again, it can be inferred from this, that the song, lyrically, focuses on a personal relationship and how one person has made another better by simply being in that first person’s life.  What is truly interesting here, going back to the song’s musical content, that slower tempo and the song’s grinding feel serves well to help illustrate the emotions of the song’s lyrical content.  The two elements together make the song a strong finish to the record, and the song in general one more example of what makes the album stand out.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable moments.  ‘Simple Things’ is one more example of the album’s strength.

‘Simple Things’ stands out just as starkly from the songs noted here – and the rest of the album’s songs – as they do from one another in part because of its arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is another work that wastes no time grabbing listeners’ attention.  The bass and keyboard-driven arrangement immediately lends itself to comparisons to some of the best works from Parliament Funkadelic.  What is really interesting here is Swaby’s vocal delivery here.  Where the song’s instrumentation conjures thoughts of the noted group, Swaby’s vocal delivery here conjures thoughts of Wild Cherry singer Rob Parissi.  That is especially the case in the song’s verses.  The choruses show Swaby leaning more in a funk/R&B direction in his delivery.  It sounds like quite the odd combination, but it is in fact quite enjoyable to hear, especially coupled with the song’s fun, mid-tempo old school funk arrangement.  The song’s arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the whole of the work.

The lyrical theme presented in ‘Simple Things’ comes across as a love song.  This is inferred as Swaby sings in the song’s lead verse, “Caught up in a daydream/Caught up in the heat of your love/There ain’ no misbehavin’/Ain’t no sense in f****** s*** up/’Cause time after time/I tell myself I’m better/Time after time/Evil tests my every pressure/Time after time/I’ll make it like you want me/’Cause my heart can’t bring it if my heart ain’t in it.”  Swaby continues in the song’s second verse, “Don’t ever run/Come save me/I ain’t never gonna give you the call/’Cause trust come necessary/And we ain’t standin’ here ready to fall/’Cause time after time/Expect love to be better/Thyme after rhyme/Temptation’s always out to get ya/Time after time if I can turn you on/because my heart don’t sing it if my heart ain’t in it.”  He and his band mates note additionally in the song’s chorus, “Make it all about the simple things/Break it down for the simple things.”  The simple things are what make relationships grow and thrive.  The note of a heart being in it adds to the inference that the song is a love song of sorts about someone being loyal to another.  This is just this critic’s own take on the song.  It could be a completely incorrect interpretation, but hopefully is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  When this possibly positive lyrical theme is coupled with the song’s – again – infectious musical arrangement, the whole of the song makes it yet another key addition to the album.  When the song in whole is considered along side the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of Sons becomes a positive work that in whole, will appeal to plenty of listeners, and is another positive offering from The Heavy.

The Heavy’s latest full-length studio recording Sons is a positive new effort from the funk-rock band.  That is due both to its musical arrangements and its positive lyrical themes from start to finish.  Given, none of the material – musical or lyrical – breaks any new ground so to speak for the band, the album doesn’t just straight up rehash the band’s previous albums.  The three songs noted here clearly support that statement.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole album proves to be another successful offering from The Heavy.  More information on Sons is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://theheavy.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theheavy73

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theheavy

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Atreyu Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘In Our Wake’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Atreyu will re-issue its album In Our Wake next month.

The album’s re-issue is scheduled for Aug. 16 through Spinefarm Records.  It will feature previously unreleased songs that were recorded during the sessions for the band’s 2015 album Long Live and its 2018 album.

Among the extras featured among the seven extra tracks are an alternate, acoustic take of the title track from In Our Wake and an alternate take of the song ‘Our Time Is Now.’

Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller said in a recent interview, he is looking forward to the album’s re-issue.

“I’ve excited for these songs to see the light of day,” Saller said.  “To us, these are songs that we loved, but didn’t find a space within the album as a unit.  To further that, we’re excited to have some older material that only saw limited release be fully available for our fans.  As for the re-imagined tracks from In Our Wake, this is something brand new to us and it was a really fun moment for us to re-think these songs.  They turned into something special that we feel stands on its own.”

Saller’s band mate, bassist Porter McKnight, expanded on Saller’s thoughts.

“When the topic for the deluxe edition was introduced, my brain instantly exploded with fun avenues and ideas for re-developed imagery,” McKnight said.  “I wanted something that flirted with my original ideas for IOW, but took them down a new and darker path.  I chose to invoke a classic punk/black metal feel with this one, and even ended up drawing the [album’s] cover by hand.  It’s always an honor and a pleasure to create something for this band.”

The  full 19-song track listing for the upcoming re-issue of In Our Wake is noted below. Pre-orders are open now.

IN OUR WAKE DELUXE EDITION TRACK LISTING:
“In Our Wake”
“House of Gold”
“The Time Is Now”
“Nothing Will Ever Change”
“Blind Deaf & Dumb”
“Terrified”
“Safety Pin”
“Into the Open”
“Paper Castle”
“No Control”
“Anger Left Behind”
“Super Hero”
“In Our Wake” (Acoustic)
“The Time Is Now” (Alternate)
“Generation”
“Straight To Hell”
“So Others May Live”
“Stronger Than Me”
“When the Day Is Done”

Atreyu is in the midst of a tour in support of In Our Wake.  The band’s current schedule is noted below.

ATREYU ON TOUR:
7/23: Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
7/24: Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Amphitheatre
7/26: Chula Vista, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/28: Montreal, QC @ HVY MTL*
*Non-Disrupt date

More information on Atreyu’s upcoming re-issue of In Our Wake is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.atreyofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/atreyu

Twitter: http://twitter.com/atreyuofficial

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release New Live Recording From Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators have a new live recording on the way.

The group will release its new recording Living The Dream Tour Sept. 20.  The concert, recorded at the band’s performance at the Hammersmith Apollo (London) during its 2019 “Living The Dream Tour,” it is scheduled for release on DVD/2CD; Blu-ray/2CD; 3LP Black vinyl; limited edition 3LP Red vinyl digital video and digital audio.

The concert featured in the recording is a two-hour set.  It features songs from  Slash’s solo records and from his work with Kennedy and The Conspirators.  A full clip of the band performing the song ‘Anastasia‘ is streaming now.  The trailer for the recording is streaming here.

The full track listing for Living The Dream Tour is noted below. Pre-orders are open now.

LIVING THE DREAM TOUR–TRACKLISTING:

The Call Of The Wild
Halo
Standing In The Sun
Ghost
Back From Cali
My Antidote
Serve You Right
Boulevard Of Broken Hearts
Shadow Life
We’re All Gonna Die
Doctor Alibi
Lost Inside The Girl
Wicked Stone
Mind Your Manners
Driving Rain
By The Sword
Nightrain
Starlight
You’re A Lie
World On Fire
Avalon
Anastasia

Slash and company are in the midst of the latest leg of its “Living The Dream Tour.”  The group’s current tour schedule is noted below.

U.S. TOUR
Sun-Jul-21-19 Calgary, AB Grey Eagle Entertainment Centre
Tue-Jul-23-19 Winnipeg, MB Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts
Thu-Jul-25-19 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theatre
Fri-Jul-26-19 Windsor, ON The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor
Sun-Jul-28-19 Montreal, QC Heavy Montreal
Mon-Jul-29-19 Toronto, ON Rebel Complex
Wed-Jul-31-19 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre
Thu-Aug-01-19 Northfield, OH Hard Rock Rocksino
Sat-Aug-03-19 Prior Lake, MN Mystic Lake Casino
Sun-Aug-4-19 Chicago, IL LOLLAPALOOZA
Tue-Aug-06-19 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Wed-Aug-07-19 Fort Wayne, IN Sweetwater Performance Pavilion
Fri-Aug-09-19 Council Bluffs, IA Harrah’s Council Bluffs – Stir Cove
Sat-Aug-10-19 Maryland Heights, MO KSHE Pig Roast
Mon-Aug-12-19 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
Tue-Aug-13-19 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live

More information on Living The Dream Tour is available online now along with all of Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators’ latest news at:

 

Website:  http://www.slashonline.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Slash

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Slash

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Vyces Premieres New Single, ‘Paralyzed’

Courtesy: Imagen/Warner ADA

Vyces debuted its new single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Paralyzed’ Tuesday.  The song was released through Imagen Records/Warner ADA.  The song comes more than a year after the band debuted the video for its last single ‘Thin Luck,’ which was released May 9, 2018.

‘Paralyzed’ is streaming online now via Apple Music and Spotify.  Musically, the song’s choruses boast a very aggro-rock vibe while the choruses are the exact opposite, tense, but still lighter than the feel of the song’s choruses.

Vyces front man Dave Naruszewicz talked about the song in a recent interview.

“I’m extremely excited to share ‘Paralyzed’ with everyone,” he said.  “It’s a song we’ve been playing live over the past two years and has definitely made its mark as a core song in our set. Producer Augustus Cryn’s vision for the song caught my attention the first time I heard the riffs.  Infectious and undeniable, this one is a head banger from start to finish.”

More information on Vyces’ new single, tour schedule and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://vycesofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/vycesofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/vycesofficial

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Say Never Debuts ‘Do It Again’ Video

Independent hard rock band Say Never debuted the music video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its song ‘Do It Again’ on Thursday.  Billy Grey (Fozzy, Tattoo The Scars) provides his talents as a guest musician to the song. The video for ‘Do It Again crosses footage of the band performing its new single in a warehouse setting with footage of a young woman driving fast in a classic muscle car on a nearly deserted highway.  Audiences never find out the woman’s destination, but that is beside the point.

The band explained in a collective news release explains the song’s lyrical theme is meant to evoke happy emotions in listeners.

“‘Do It Again’ is a positive, upbeat blue collar tune with a head-bobbing tempo about letting loose and having fun with friends after a long, hard week at work,” the band notes in the release.  “All of us can easily relate to this song and we all know that feeling of happiness when the weekend rolls around.  ‘Do It again’ soars with its driving bass guitar, heavy drums, guitar tones that are dialed in just right and that feeling that it’s party time, so let’s “blow off some steam.”

The song’s musical arrangement will appeal to fans of bands, such as Black Stone Cherry, Brand New Sin and Black Label Society with the noted guitar tones, drums and bass line.

Say Never’s video for ‘Do It Again’ comes more than four months after the band debuted the video for its most recent single ‘Giving Up.’

More information on Say Never’s new single and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.sayneverband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/sayneveratl

Twitter: http://twitter.com/saynevermusic

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock’s New Alan Jackson Profile Will Appeal To Country Music Fans In Towns Of All Sizes

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Country music star Alan Jackson has done it all, it seems, over the course of his career.  He has sold more than 80 million records, reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot Singles & Tracks Chart at least 35 times, received two Grammy® Awards 16 Country Music Association Awards, 17 Academy of Country Music Awards, and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame just to name a handful of accomplishments.  His albums have gone platinum no fewer than nine times, to boot.  He has played at the Grand Ole Opry multiple times, too.  All of this was accomplished by a man whose roots go back to a small southern town, so it makes sense that that is the title of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new profile of Jackson, Small Town Southern Man.  Released late last month, the 90-minute documentary tells the story of Jackson’s life and career from his childhood in a small Georgia town to his reaching the peak of his career, becoming a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  That story forms the foundation of the documentary and will be addressed shortly.  The documentary’s editing is just as worth noting as the story itself.  The doc’s average price point proves to be money well-spent considering the editing and story.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Small Town Southern Man.  All things considered, they make the documentary a presentation that proves big things can, and often do, come in small packages.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recently released Alan Jackson profile Small Town Southern Man is a presentation that will appeal just as much to Jackson’s fans as it will to country music fans in general.  That is due in large part to the story at the center of the documentary.  The story follows Jackson’s life and career from his humble beginnings in a small Georgia town to his nationwide fame, now decades into his career.  The story is told through the words of Jackson’s family and friends, including, but not limited to his parents and sisters, fellow musicians and executives at his label.  Audiences learn early on in the story that it was Jackson’s second hit single, not his first, that broke him into the mainstream.  It’s hardly the first time that such a scenario has happened for a band or a performer.  That is important to note because it serves as one more reminder that in the entertainment industry, it takes work to gain any level of success.  Success doesn’t always happen on the first try.  As the story progresses, viewers also learn that ‘Chattahoochie,’ another of Jackson’s hit singles, almost did not happen.  Those with knowledge of the story explain how the song stood out, at the time, from so much other country music, especially as it pertained to the song’s video, and the long term impact of the song.  It is pointed out that some of Jackson’s songs were written by people other than himself, but additionally pointed out that he still wrote the majority of his songs, and has still managed quite the success even with that balance.  As if all of that is not enough, viewers also hear from other well-known country music figures about their own view of his role in their development.  Jackson himself is featured through a series of vintage interviews to add even more to the story, enhancing the story even more.  The story at the center of Small Town Southern Man goes a long way toward making the DVD a positive offering from Eagle Rock Entertainment for Jackson’s fans and those of country music in general.  It is just one part of what makes the DVD a positive offering.  The story’s editing adds to its interest in its own right.

The editing that went into Small Town Southern Man deserves its own share of attention as it did a lot to help tell the story at the documentary’s center.  The live footage featured throughout the documentary make for solid transition points, cutting at just the right moments to help tell the story.  The division of the interviews throughout the course of the program shows the amount of time and effort put into making sure the story flows as well as possible, too.  Viewers will also appreciate the precise placement of the pictures and music video segments in their connection to the story.  They start and stop at all of the right points, and are used at all of the right spots to help keep viewers engaged and entertained.  What’s more, their use at those points plays into the program’s pacing, too.  This is important to note in that there are certain points as the story progresses where it feels that it should have ended but didn’t end.  Luckily, the editors’ work in assembling the story helped make up for the problem of those non-endings, keeping viewers watching even as the story continues past those points.  That is a strong statement about the editors’ talents.  Keeping all of this in mind, the work of the doc’s editors couples with the story directly to prove even more why this presentation will appeal to country music fans in general and Alan Jackson fans.  Considering that deep appeal, it makes the DVD’s average price point money well-spent for the noted viewers.

The average price point for Small Town Southern Man is $7.86.  That price is obtained by averaging prices at Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Best Buy.  At the time of this review’s posting, the DVD was not listed at Target and Books-A-Million.  Considering the fact that other standard documentaries on DVD can range from $15 and up, a DVD documentary that does not even break the $10 level – even within its own listing at the noted retailers – is even more positive for the DVD.  Given, there is no bonus content featured with the DVD, but the fact that there is no extra content makes that price point all the more acceptable and affordable.  To that end, the pricing is the proverbial cherry on top for this DVD.  It is one more way in which the DVD establishes its appeal to the noted audiences.  When it is considered with the DVD’s content and editing, the whole of the elements makes Small Town Southern Man a presentation that Alan Jackson and country music fans in every town will enjoy.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Alan Jackson documentary Small Town Southern Man is a positive new offering for Jackson’s fans and for country music fans alike.  That is made evident in part through the DVD’s story, which establishes the DVD’s foundation.  That program’s editing goes a long way toward ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment, too.  Considering that content and editing, the DVD’s average (and separate) price point of less than $10 makes this a DVD that any country music fan and Alan Jackson fan can afford.  Those fans will also appreciate that lower price point, in comparison to the prices of other similar style DVDs from other companies on other topics that have the same amount of content.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that Alan Jackson and country music fans in every town big and small will appreciate.  Small Town Southern Man is available now.  More information on the DVD is available online now along with all of Alan Jackson’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.alanjackson.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAlanJackson

Twitter: http://twitter.comOfficialJackson

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Which One Am I’ Could Create A New, Positive Identity For Backstreet Boy Howie D

Courtesy: HowieDoItMusic

Howard Dorough, a.k.a. Howie D. is most well known for his work throughout the years with the bubblegum pop group Backstreet Boys.  While Dorough has earned his greatest fame as a member of the group, that is not his only claim to fame.  He alsso has some production credit under his belt along with a solo album released in 2011 titled Back To Me.  On Friday, Dorough released his second solo recording, which was also his first-ever family music album in the form of Which One Am I.  The album, which comes a little more than a month ahead of his 46th birthday, is an intriguing effort from Dorough, considering his resume.  That is proven in part through the record’s arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical themes add to the record’s interest, and will be addressed a little later.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements, and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Which One Am I.  All things considered, this record has the possibility to help Dorough truly start developing his own identity as an artist and a performer.

Howard Dorough’s sophomore solo record – and first ever family music album – Which One Am I is a promising new offering for the performer who has made his name largely through his work with the Backstreet Boys.  It is a promising offering in part because of the album’s arrangements.  The arrangements featured throughout the course of the 12-song, 38-minute album are distinctly different from anything crafted for any of the Backstreet Boys’ albums.  Whereas the arrangements featured on the Backstreet Boys’ albums are synthetic, autotuned cookie cutter creations crafted by the execs at the group’s label, the arrangements featured in this record feel and sound far more genuine and original.  The arrangement in the album’s opener features an arrangement that harkens back to the poppy, R&B-infused songs of the late 1950s and early 60s while ‘Worry,’ which comes later in the album’s run, boasts an arrangement that holds its own against any of today’s reggae offerings.  ‘School Bell Tango’ presents a fun, light arrangement that puts on display Dorough’s Puerto Rican roots – he makes a point in the album to note that his mother is Puerto Rican and his father Irish.  The arrangement, complete with either cello or viola, presents the familiar tango sound that was (and is) so common from Puerto Rico.  ‘Small Time Blues’ presents, in fact, a light 12-bar blues arrangement that is just as catchy as so many old school country blues songs.  Between this, everything else mentioned, the power in the subtlety of Dorough’s cover of Bill Withers’ hit song ‘Lean on Me’ and the rest of the record’s arrangements, Dorough puts on full display his talents as a performer.  The result of the record’s collective arrangements is a full set of arrangements that creates a strong foundation for Dorough’s new record.  Building on that foundation is the lyrical content featured with the arrangements.

As already noted, Which One Am I is Dorough’s first-ever family record.  For someone who has spent the better part of his career lip synching hollow, forgettable lyrics that are anything but memorable, the lyrics presented here (which clearly are sung by Dorough this time out) are lyrics that will resonate with children and adults alike.  Case in point is the piano-driven song that is ‘Shy.’  This song’s doo-wop infused arrangement works expertly with its lyrics about a young student who is battling with shyness.  He sings about the young boy being asked to read a passage from a book and trying to pretend he can’t talk in order to get out of it, but that effort failing.  Who hasn’t done that at one point or another in their childhood?  The song also features a story about that same young man trying to get over his shyness as he tries to ask a girl to a dance at another point in his young life.  He ends the song by asking painfully why he is so shy.  This is something to which listeners of all ages can relate just as much as the song’s other situations.

‘School Bell Tango’ is another prime example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  Here again is a lyrical theme to which listeners of all ages can relate.  Dorough sings here from the vantage point of a young school student not wanting to get up and go to school in the morning, but eventually having so much fun at school that he’s surprised when the last bell of the day rings. Yet again, who out there has not been in the situation in which that young student has been?  Even grown-ups don’t like getting up in the morning, hearing that first alarm of the day from the alarm clock.  The difference is that adults can’t wait to get home at the end of the day.  Kids on the other hand, get ot have fun at school along with their work.  Again, this is a song that not just musically, but lyrically, will reach a wide range of listeners.

‘The Me I’m Meant To Be’ is yet another of those songs that will reach a wide range of listeners through its lyrical content.  Dorough presents in this song, a message of taking pride in one’s own self and being willing to take risks in life, singing, “I could play it safe/But I been down that road before/And even though I am afraid/I could give it a try/Change up my game/Open that door/I gotta make my own mind up/’Cause all of my time’s up/I gotta trust I’ll find my way.”  Children and adults alike have trouble willing themselves to take risks in life and do new things.  The situations may differ, but they still happen for everyone.  What is important in those situations is taking those chances, because without taking chances, no change will ever happen.  This is a positive message for everyone.  Add in the fact that this is the only song in the album that boasts any hint of any Backstreet Boys-type sound, but even with that in mind, it is still an interesting song that captures quite surprisingly well, the emotions of people facing the challenge of new changes.  When these three songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the importance of the album’s lyrical content proves that much more critical to its overall presentation, and in a good way.  The album’s lyrical content coupled with its musical arrangements, it becomes that much more of a surprisingly interesting offering from Dorough.  The noted elements are not its only important elements.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

From beginning to end, the sound and feel of Which One Am I changes, giving listeners something new from one song to the next.  That is important to note because it ensures that much more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The record opens with its light, bouncy title track before moving into a more funk-infused work in ‘Back in the Day.’  The change continues as the album makes its way through the kindie-rock styling of ‘Monster in My Head,’ the previously noted doo-wop style of ‘Shy — by the way, Dorough’s control as he hits the high notes in this song is honestly impressive. There is no autotune here. It is really him, which makes that moment even more impressive — the reggae styling of ‘Worry’ and the R&B-infused ‘Pollyanna’s Shadow.’  It continues on throughout the second half of the album, with the again aforementioned Latin-infused styling of ‘School Bell Tango’ and ‘No Hablo Espanol,’ the powerful simplicity of ‘Lean on Me,’ which closes out the album and even the bluesy rhythms of ‘Small Time Blues.’  Short and simple, listeners get something different from beginning to end of this album in terms of the arrangements, and their energies.  Those variances are just slight enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained throughout the course of the record’s 38-minute run time.  Obviously a certain amount of time and effort was put into this part of the record, just as much as the arrangements and lyrical themes featured throughout the record.  When the noted elements are considered together, the whole of said elements makes Which One Am I a work that is certain to establish Dorough’s identity as a real performer and composer.  It shows he can make his own identity without being a member of that pop other act.

Howard Dorough’s debut family album (and second solo album) is a surprisingly interesting offering from the man who has otherwise made his claim to fame as a member of the Backstreet Boys.  It is a record that shows he may actually have a viable career away from that group.  That is evidenced in part through the arrangements featured in the album.  The arrangements are far more diverse than anything featured on any Backstreet Boys record.  The record’s lyrical themes are items to which listeners of all ages can relate.  That adds to its interest.  The sequencing of the noted arrangements ensures even more, listeners’ engagement.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Which One Am I.  All things considered, they show this record could very well be the start of a possibly successful solo career for Dorough that will definitely create not just more of a new identity for him, but a better identity.  More information on Which One Am I is available online now along with all of Howie D’s news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://howied.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HowieD

Twitter: http://twitter.com/howied

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.