When COVI-19 made its way to American shores last year, no one could have possibly known that it would lead to the chaos that it has since caused. Now with multiple vaccines available though, and more doses on the way along with lots of sites, this pandemic will hopefully come to its end sooner rather than later. Until that time, we are still facing the virus and its impacts, which have been economic and social. In an effort to help address those impacts and the pandemic itself, family music entertainer Eriba Rabner will release her new aptly titled record The Covid Album Wednesday. The 14-song album is an intriguing presentation. Its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly, do their own part to make the album worth hearing. The record’s lyrical content, meanwhile are of their own interest. They will be discussed a little later. The album’s sequencing brings everything full circle completing its presentation. When it is considered along with the record’s collective musical and lyrical content, the whole of the album becomes a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.
Erica Rabner’s new forthcoming album The Covid Album is an intriguing presentation that is worth hearing at least once. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements. The musical arrangements that are featured in this record offer some variety for listeners. Case in point is a comparison among the album’s current singles. ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya’ is one of those singled. The simple arrangement is reserved composition that features Rabner singing and playing a very simple group of chords on the guitar. That pairing is accompanied by a subtle string arrangement and an even lighter shaker addition. The light feel of the whole does well to help translate the emotion of a young, innocent child as he/she writes a letter to his/her grandmother, expressing the noted feelings and thoughts. It is a moving arrangement in its simplicity that is certain to tug at any listener’s heart strings.
In comparison to ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya,’ ‘Mask On,’ the album’s latest single, is the polar opposite. This song’s arrangement is a much more upbeat composition. The keyboards (and effects used on them) couple with the programmed drum and vocals to give this song a very pop style approach. Speaking more specifically, the arrangement in whole lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Shakira. Keeping that in mind, the arrangement is certain to appeal to parents who are pop music fans just as much as any child.
On yet another note, the lighter, but still pop-centric arrangement featured in ‘Wash Your Hands’ is another example of what makes the album’s musical arrangements stand out. The piano-driven arrangement is an energetic composition that will connect with any young listener. Its stylistic approach and sound lend themselves collectively to comparisons to works from Rabner’s family music counterparts, Joanie Leeds and Laurie Berkner. It is just as different from the other arrangements noted here as they are from the rest of the album’s arrangements. The whole of the arrangements makes the album’s musical content reason enough for audiences to hear the album. While the album’s musical content gives listeners reason to take in this presentation, the record’s lyrical content poses a slight problem.
The problem with the lyrical content featured in Rabner’s new album is that it is more timely than timeless. It is already known that odds are, the COVID-19 issue will eventually either be wiped out at the most or limited to a seasonal issue much like the flu. Medical experts across the nation have already confirmed this. So while yes, we are separated and things are complicated right now, things will return to normal soon, as much as certain governing bodies and so many germaphobes clearly wish they would not. That baseball is starting back on time this year and that concert venues in New York state will soon start allowing the return of live music, and that schools nationwide are finally allowing students back into the classroom shows that this pandemic may finally be near its end. To that end, the lyrical content here will help families navigate the waters of the pandemic for the time being, but once things get back to normal, the album’s lyrical content will be more of a documentation of sorts than something memorable. What’s more, once we are all past this pandemic, no one is going to want to be reminded about the pandemic and its impacts. So hearing these songs after the fact is not something most audiences are going to want to do. Again, that is not to say that the album’s content is bad by any means. However, the fact that it collectively centers on topics related to the pandemic means that the album in general is going to ultimately be dated and wanted to be forgotten by audiences. That will ultimately serve as a detriment to the album.
That the lyrical content featured in this presentation will end up being dated, and in turn will make the album dated, is problematic for its presentation. While it detracts considerably from the album’s presentation, it does not make the album a failure. The sequencing of the album works with the content to benefit the work a little more. The sequencing is important because it ensures clear separation of each discussion topic f or starters. Rather than just going from song to song, the album clearly broaches each topic, opening with “real talk” segment before launching into the songs. It gives that sense of a family talking about the same topics. On another level, the balance in the record’s energies shows that plenty of thought and work went into the sequencing in this aspect, too. The record starts on an upbeat tone in ‘Up and Roaring, It’s Finally Morning.’ ‘Mask On,’ which comes next, picks up the pace, but only temporarily before the record’s energy pulls back in ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya.’ ‘Imagination Station’ and ‘Manage Your Feelings’ (which is itself also part of Raber’s 2016 album PB & Jams) stabilize the record’s energy with their mid-tempo arrangements. ‘Wash Your Hands’ finds the album’s energy picking back up before ‘Love Trumps Hate’ levels things off once more to close out the album. All things considered here, the balance in the energy throughout ensures in its own right, that listeners will remain engaged. That, along with the entertainment and engagement ensured through the album’s musical content, does just enough to offset the problematic aspect of the record’s lyrical content. The result is that those elements make The Covid Album a presentation that may not stand the test of time, but is still worth hearing at least once.
Erica Rabner’s new record The Covid Album is an interesting presentation that while not perfect, is still worth hearing at least once. That is proven in part through the album’s musical content. The musical arrangements are varied throughout the album, ensuring in their own right, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. On another level, some of the arrangements in question bear similarities to works from artists that many older audiences might enjoy. That adds even more to the arrangements’ appeal. While the album’s musical content does much to make it appealing, its lyrical content detracts from that engagement and entertainment. Yes, it will help get families through the pandemic as it continues to be battled. At the same time though, considering that we will eventually get past the pandemic and that people are not going to want to look back afterward, the content in whole will ultimately be content that is more timely than timeless. Once we are past the pandemic, people are not going to want to have any reminder of these times. That is because it will only serve to depress them. So, once again, it will help families right now, but ultimately will not stand the test of time. It will garner more respect for Rabner among audiences since she is working to help families navigate these waters. However, it will not find itself as being content that audiences will want to return to once this pandemic is over. Even with this in mind, the damage that the lyrical theme does to the album does to its presentation, the sequencing of the content in whole makes up for those problems at least to a point. It works to make sure the diversity in the musical arrangements and their energies keep things fresh. Keeping this in mind, it and the musical arrangements do just enough to make The Covid Album a timely work that is worth hearing at least once. The Covid Album is scheduled for release Wednesday through Sticky Jams.
More information on Erica Rabner’s new album is available along with all of her latest news at https://www.ericarabner.com.
To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.