More than a month after premiering the debut single from its forthcoming album, Like the Light of Stars, independent music act The Workday Release is scheduled to release that album. Scheduled for release Friday through ENCI Records, the 11-song presentation is a work that makes the act, the brainchild of singer-songwriter David Ottestad, poised to be one of the next big names in the adult contemporary and pop music. That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content. ‘Going Up in Flames’ is just one way in which the collective content makes the album entertaining and engaging. It will be discussed shortly. ‘I Do,’ the record’s latest single, is another example of what makes the album appealing. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Keep Out The Wolves’ is yet another example of how Like the Light of Stars prove itself so enjoyable. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole becomes a work that any adult contemporary and pop fan will find enjoyable.
The Workday Release’s debut album Like the Light of Stars is a shining new offering within the adult contemporary and pop communities. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content. ‘Going Up in Flames’ is just one of the songs featured in the approximately 40-minute record whose musical and lyrical content pairs to support the noted statements. The song’s musical arrangement forms its foundation with its gentle percussion, guitar, and piano. The minimalist approach to the arrangement is a clear illustration of the old adage that less is more. The simple, gentle melody crated by the guitar and piano is so enriching while what sounds like a brush on the snare, echoing, adds its own touch. The whole of the arrangement makes the song’s impact so hard hitting. The impact of the arrangement through its simple stylistic approach and sound, pairs with the song’s contemplative lyrical content to make the song overall even deeper.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Going Up in Flames’ seems to come from the vantage point of someone who is at one of the many crossroads that everyone reaches in life. One can argue that it presents something of an existential discussion. That is inferred as Ottestad sings in the song’s lead verse, “It’s swelling up again in my heart/And I can’t face it/Send me back out in the dark/Like I have before/So I raise my voice to God/ ‘Tell me what’s your problem?’/And I brace for/Only thunder/Down on my knees/But still there’s nothing/So father/I am up/Waiting for your favor/While the hills here/Are going up/Going up in flames.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I can’t find you in the clouds/Like when I was younger/And the air that I’m now breathing/Is mostly smoke/And it fills my mind with doubt/Did you ever love me?/And I wait for/You to come and help me breathe/But still there’s nothing.” Again, this is someone who clearly is at a difficult point in life. Now whether the “father” reference is religious or referring specifically to an actual father figure is unknown. It would seem this is somewhat religious, especially considering the declaration from the subject that he wonders, “Did you ever love me?” That note of the hills going up in flames is metaphorical language that the subject is using to point out the feeling that the subject feels like the world is…well…burning around him and he is getting no answers from a higher power. If in fact that is the case, then the manner in which this familiar topic is broached here is unique. It will certainly resonate with listeners. That is because most people, if not all, have been at the point at which the song’s subject has reached. When that accessibility is paired with the depth of the song’s musical arrangement, the song’s overall impact deepens and makes the song an even clearer example of what makes Like the Light of Stars so successful.
In contrast to the moving, seemingly existential nature of ‘Going Up in Flames,’ ‘I Do’ – another of the record’s most notable entries – is a much happier song, showing the variety in the album’s musical and lyrical content. ‘I Do’ is the most recent of the singles spawned from Like the Light of Stars. Premiered April 3, the song’s musical arrangement is a simple, upbeat composition. The use of the guitar, vocals and minimal percussion collectively lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of John Mayer and The Nomadic to name just a couple of acts whose work is so similar.
The lyrical theme featured alongside the song’s upbeat musical arrangement was made clear in comments made recently by Ottestad about the song. He essentially pointed out through his comments that couples far too often take the term “I Do” for granted as something they only say at a wedding. He said of this topic, “‘I do’ isn’t just something you say on your wedding day. It’s something you say every day.” No lyrics need examining in this case. Ottestad hits the nail on the proverbial head with that statement. Men and women alike are guilty of taking those words for granted, and both need to make more effort to say them more often. The joy that comes for couples in saying those words daily is echoed through the energy in the song’s musical arrangement. All things considered here, the song proves to be yet another key example of what makes Like the Light of Stars engaging and entertaining. It is just one more example of what makes the album worth hearing. ‘Keep Out The Wolves’ is one more example of the album’s strength.
‘Keep Out The Wolves’ is yet another simple work in regards to its musical arrangement. Ottestad’s simple vocal delivery and guitar performance here alongside some slight added production elements make the song’s arrangement a work that will appeal to fans, again, of John Mayer. In the case of this song, it will also appeal to fans of Owl City. Even with those influences in mind, the song’s arrangement still boasts its own identity. To that end, it makes the song appealing in part. The song’s lyrical content pairs with the musical content to make the song even more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical content featured in this song comes across as being another existential commentary, but unlike that of ‘Going Up in Flames.’ The seeming existential commentary is presented right from the song’s outset as Ottestad sings, “You’re feeling second rate and far behind/Overlooked by God/Event the devil walks past/Without a second glance/And you can’t make a sound/Leaving home to find your missing voice/Unsure of where you left it/Worried all your sins have come to light/And what else can you do?/Your silence paints them true/Bring the fire/Burn yourself to the ground.” Ottestad continues in the song’s second verse, “When you get back up/You feel brand new/Now that you’re facing forward/It might be some time until you can speak/But when you feel first sound/Be sure to make it count/the ones who linger/Nail themselves to the floor/There’s only so much you can do/To keep the wolves out/And I will hold the door shut/Sooner or later/They’ll swallow you whole/They’re starving for your secrets…You can’t escape it/They’ve come with torches/To burn down your home.” Ottestad adds to the discussion in the song’s third verse, “Kill all the lights and lock the doors/Get down before they see you/How you’ve come to miss the days before/Overlooked and free/And now you’re on your knees.” He concludes in the song’s fourth (yes, fourth) verse, “There’s no room for monsters here/Not in this quiet town/They can’t force you out/Turn you to ash/To keep themselves safe.” Looking back through all of this, what it all seems to say through its metaphorical language is that no matter what one does in life, the wolves will be there. The wolves are those people who only wish you harm and want to kick you when you are down. Even with the wolves being there, one cannot let them win. Rather, one must just live one’s life regardless because the wolves will always be there. It is a familiar lyrical topic, and is presented in its own unique fashion here. When the serious message is considered alongside the song’s moving musical arrangement, the whole makes this song yet another important addition to the album. When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of that content leaves no question about the album’s overall success. It all comes together to make the album among the most notable of this year’s new independent albums.
The Workday Release’s debut album, Like the Light of Stars, is a record that given the right support, could help the act become one of the next big names in the realms of adult contemporary and pop. That is proven through all three of the songs examined here. The songs show a similar stylistic approach to the songs’ musical arrangements but an ability, regardless, to adapt to the album’s various lyrical themes, making each song engaging and entertaining. The noted songs in whole are clear examples of how the album’s musical and lyrical content make it worth hearing. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the record’s body makes it well worth hearing at least once among any adult contemporary and pop rock fan. Like the Light of Stars is scheduled for release Friday through ENCI Records.
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