Veteran rock band Trapt is scheduled to release its latest album Friday. The 12-song album Shadow Work – the band’s eighth album — will come less than four years after the release of its predecessor, DNA upon its release. The record is a presentation that will grow on audiences each time they listen through its 11 primary songs and one bonus track, each of which is its own fit for any active rock radio programmer’s playlist. That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements just as much as their lyrical content, as is evidenced in part through ‘Let Me Down Slowly,’ which comes late in the record’s run. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another key way in which it shows what makes it worth hearing. ‘Far Enough Away,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint, is one more way in which Shadow Work engages audiences. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered along with ‘Let Me Down Slowly,’ ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album becomes a presentation that is unique from Trapt’s previous albums, and just as worth hearing at least once.
Trapt’s eighth full-length studio recording Shadow Works is an interesting new offering from the veteran rock band. While maybe not as heavy as some of the band’s past works, it still holds its own appeal for audiences. The album’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes make it good fit for many mainstream active rock radio stations. That is proven in part through one of the album’s later works, ‘Let Me Down Slowly.’ The song’s arrangement’s opening bars present audiences with a soft, contemplative sound that gradually builds into a more ballad-esque approach. This back and forth of the song’s softer and slightly more energetic elements continues from that point, serving to help illustrate the emotions exhibited in each portion of the composition.
The noted change in emotions and thoughts is itself well-translated through the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which front man Chris Taylor Brown sings, “You like to catch me off guard/So it’s hard to keep my balance/And you know how to get inside/And you know how to love me right/And I’m not ready to let you go just yet/Do we have more time left to stretch/Cause I’m not ready yet/Let me down/Let me down/Let me down slow/Stick around/Draw it out/Til there’s nowhere else to go/Pushing me/Along a string/And if you’re finally/breaking free/Let me down slowly.” Right from the outset, what it seems the song’s subject is dealing with is a familiar mindset, that of knowing a relationship is at its end, but basically not wanting it to be over. That denial (in the song’s chorus) is where the song’s energy picks up, while the verse is the more contemplative moment, in which the subject is going through everything that has led up to that point. The song’s second and third verses continue to paint that noted picture, with Taylor singing in the second verse, We always take it too far/And we’re up for any challenge/You know when I get excited/You know how to keep me smiling/I’m not ready to let/You go just yet/Do we have more time left to stretch/Cause I’m not ready yet.” he adds in the song’s third verse, “Take your time with me/Stretch the seconds out/Keep the waves rolling/Keep it calm before the storm comes round and drowns me.” Once again, this comes across as someone who is in complete denial about a relationship’s end and is essentially pleading with the other person to not end it, without actually pleading per se. It is certain to engage audiences and generate its own share of discussion among audiences. Together with the mainstream active rock radio appeal that the song’s musical arrangement presents, the two elements join to make this just one of the album’s most notable works. ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ does its own part to make Shadow Work worth hearing.
‘Tell Me How You Feel’ presents a sound that is starkly different from almost anything else on this record. Where ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ presented audiences a contemplative, pleading song, this song is more of a poppy early 90s work that even has a hint of 80s pop rock to a point. Guitarist Bendan Hengle’s riffs and drummer Mike Smith get plenty of time in the limelight in this composition as they form the foundation for the song’s arrangement. Its infectious overall sound make it a fit not just for active rock stations, but possibly even Top 40 stations. It is that accessible of an arrangement. What is so interesting is that considering the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to focus on one person trying to get his/her partner to communicate. Such a confrontation between partners in a relationship can take many different forms. It can be emotionally intense or even something less intense, as in the case presented here. To that end, the song’s musical arrangement works well.
Going back to the song’s lyrical theme, the situation presented here is one of those less intense situations. That is made clear as Brown sings in the song’s lead verse, “Tell Me How You Really Feel/Lips locked and tongues tied/We both want to shout/But know not what about/I’m stuck in your eyes/Tryin’ to figure out/Where we are now/There’s a voice in this confusion/Waiting to be heard/Lost in the commotion/Searching for the words/Show me some emotion/Tell me where it hurts/These aren’t your secrets to keep.” This is someone talking to his/her partner at the critical point in a relationship where the big argument has not yet happened. It is that point where one partner is trying to prevent said incident from happening. The discussion continues in the song’s second verse, Our hearts on our sleeves/Yet we can’t say the things/That we both really mean/Pushing or pulling/Tell me how I can be/Right in between/There’s a voice/in this confusion/Waiting to be heard/Lost in the commotion/Searching for the words/Show me some emotion/Tell me where it hurts/These aren’t your secrets to keep.” Coupled with the song’s chorus, in which Brown sings, “Tell me how you really feel/Tell me how you feel/If you really want to make it real/Then tell me how to/Tell me how you feel/We have only ourselves to blame/If we don’t say what we have to say/If you really want your wounds to heal/Then tell me how you feel,” what audiences get in full is, again, that discussion between the couple (more so coming from one side than the other) about that need for communication, which is key to any relationship. Together with the song’s musical arrangement, the song gains even more traction and possibility for mainstream radio play. It is just one more of the songs that stands out in this record. ‘Far Enough Away’ is one more example of why audiences should give the record at least one chance.
‘Far Enough Away’ is another of the most accessible songs on Shadow Work. This applies to its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme. The song’s musical arrangement is a gentle, flowing presentation that conjures thoughts at times of works from Third Eye Blind, Sister Hazel, and to a lesser degree, Matchbox 20. The melody and harmonies generated through the use of the guitars and strings joins with the steady time keeping and vocals to make the song’s arrangement another easy fit for any Top 40 or even adult contemporary station’s playlist. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. That semi-melancholy vibe featured in the song’s arrangement works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to present another relationship-based story. This time, the story seems to focus on a person who wants to let down that wall around himself/herself, but is apparently afraid to let down that guard. Men and women alike have been in this position at one point or another. Brown sings in the song’s lead verse of this person, “I want to be held/But only from a distance/How do you hold on to me/I want to let go/I don’t want to have to hold your hand anymore.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I wanted it all/But I didn’t want to give you all of me/So why do I want all of you/I want to come close/But I can’t let myself believe/That you feel it too” and adds in the song’s third and final verse, “No matter how far I go/I can’t get away/No matter how far I go/There’s too much to say.” Yet again, that noted picture is painted here. Whether this is the result of a broken relationship or relationship on the rocks is left to interpretation. However, what can be inferred is in fact that this song’s subject is trying to deal with a lot of complicated thoughts. We have all been in that position of trying to decide whether to let down our guard when a relationship status becomes difficult. To that end, this makes this song’s lyrical content accessible in its own right. When it is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, the overall emotional impact on audiences will stick, proving in the end why this song is another important addition to Shadow Work. Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the other two songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album proves that it is worth hearing at least once and worth consideration for any mainstream active rock radio programmer’s playlist.
Trapt’s forthcoming eighth album Shadow Work is a work that deserves to be heard. That is because its musical and lyrical content is accessible. The musical content is comparable to works from so many of the band’s most well-known mainstream counterparts. The record’s lyrical themes, which are seemingly mostly focused on the matter of relationships, will connect with ease to a wide range of listeners. This is all proven through all three of the songs featured here. When they are considered along with the songs not directly addressed, the whole of the record should not stay in the shadows. Yes, that awful pun was intended. Shadow Work is scheduled for release Friday through Ingrooves and The Label Group. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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