Before starting this, I just had to find Alex’s “American Idol” audition, see it again to get some perspective.
I marked him down as one of my favorites early on, but other than him being a quirky WGWG, I didn’t remember much about him or even that he did an original song [Jessica Meuse was THE audition that year I couldn’t get out of my head so it was hard for me to remember anyone else].
Phew… this journey with Alex has been amazing so far. I loved how he put his own spin on some of my favorite songs like “Don’t Speak” and “Every Breath you take.” And the fact he didn’t win feels a real privilege with him. Getting to know him through his own music, even though I can hear many different artists in him, he is a truly unique artist in his own right. And he wouldn’t have had this much freedom if he was under the “Idol” winning record deal.
When he released his video for “Break Your Heart,” I knew this would be something special. I have the “Idol” download of “Fairytales,” which I’d heard maybe 3-4 times, so I only had a small glimpse of his potential in the songwriting department.
Whenever possible, I like to own physical copies of my music. I’m sentimental like that. Just because I get some songs on iTunes doesn’t mean I’ve sold out entirely to the digital age.
And for people like Alex, it’s worth going the extra yard… even if it means I have to agonize for a week waiting for the package to arrive at my house 😛
Break Your Heart
The Light Was Already Here
Close to You
Get Up, Get Down
My Best Friend (bonus- acoustic)
I went through this album not really know the titles of the songs 😛 but I’m at the point where I can recognize each of them when they start playing and I have the choruses memorized (with some, more lyrics than others).
The only one I still don’t really know too well is the final track. Perhaps when I upload it to my iPod, I’ll be able to hear the music better and grasp more of the lyrics. Over car speakers traveling on the highway, it’s hard to pick a lot out when it’s so soft.
“Break your heart” sets a good precedent for the album- giving us a taste of what to expect.
The lyrics grab you, paint you a picture of what’s happening… and more things than I can hope to explain. 😛
Many of them are love songs and they touch on all aspects of a relationship- whether it’s an affair that breaks it apart or the small voiceless moments of contentment or falling in love.
When Alex was on “American Idol,” he was dating fellow contestant (and former “X-Factor” semi-finalist) Jillian Jensen and they were very lovey-dovey together, both on screen and in their twitter conversations.
I noticed a few months ago while preparing for this album that Alex was doing all that stuff with someone else named Emily. Listening to the tracks, it sounds like he and Jillian might have had a messy break-up… or he’s just had a bunch of messy break-ups that inspired his music.
“Break your heart” is especially great because it really feels like a first single. And it goes beyond your typical commercial hit. It’s a bit deeper and rawer with its emotion.
“You” had one of the first choruses I remembered from the album and looked forward to getting to. It’s exhilarating… I wonder if I’ll get that same effect when I’m not on the highway 😀
I’d gotten so used to the “Idol” download of “Fairytales” that hearing it with more instruments threw me off at first… so it kinda put a damper on the album the first time I listened to it… but I steadily fell more and more in love with it with each listen.
It also kinda helps that there are two versions of it on this album 😛
I’m still figuring out some lyrics, but it paints such an intriguing picture… but the title kinda helps with that.
The vocal delivery is unique to Alex and that’s part of its appeal. But I could understand if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
“The Light was already here”… it’s a simple little track about contentment… I remembered the chorus, so I thought that it was called “You’re Beautiful”
“Close to You” is one of the more addicting tracks… I’m ages away from getting back to listening to it and it always comes back to me 😀 I thought the chorus was a little too simple at first, but damn, it is addicting and fun to sing to.
“200 Miles” starts out with an acoustic sound bit with amazing reverb… almost like Alex recorded it in a bathroom. But steadily it builds and builds with more sounds, more percussion, more emotion… then there’s a second chorus that builds in the final couple minutes of the song with a great sentiment: “get up, you’ve got tomorrow. you’ve got tomorrow, make a better today.”
it’s one of two tracks where Alex’s “band geek” comes out 😛
“The Author”… I am currently having trouble recalling off the top of my head 😛 but it was one of my favorite melodies to sing to. One of the tracks that just makes me smile.
The strange thing is that I enjoy it so much, but lyrically, it sounds like the relationship isn’t going well here. It certainly isn’t perfect and may be on the precipice of falling apart.
“Get up, Get Down” is the other jazzy “band geek” track and including Alex scatting, which is a pretty cool touch.
The first time I heard it, I thought Postmodern Jukebox- the kind of stuff Joey Cook brought to “Idol” this past season. Another great chorus that’s just exhilarating and so much fun.
“Love Letters” is bittersweet to listen to because it recalls a relationship coming to an end and these songs are a reminder of it. In the long run, I might not listen to it as much as some others because it’s kinda sad.
Artists I hear when I listen to Alex include Kris Allen (some sound bites remind me of his songs), Ed Sheeran (rhythmically and also emotionally), Jack Johnson (I only know “Upside Down” but it’s a hard sound to forget 😉 ) and John Mayer.
If I had more time, I’d got into what songs remind me of which artist. “Love Letters” reminds me of John Mayer with a little Kris Allen (a couple of his ballads on his 2nd album in particular).
I can’t really comment on “My Best Friend” because like I said, I haven’t grasped a lot of the lyrics and really don’t know what the melody is like. It’s very soft and tentative in places. But there’s a tinge of sadness to it, lamenting about love lost.
But yeah, great album that I’ve really enjoyed these past few weeks.
I figure now it’s time to give myself a break. Before I get to the point where it’s getting too repetitive or I make myself sick of it 😛 and I really don’t want to get to that point.
It’s definitely going on my iPod, though.
One thing I will say: it’s good for being on the open road, but it feels like a good album to listen to while spending time outside. Maybe the fact Alex wrote and recorded it at a retreat in the middle of somewhere influenced me in that way… but Alex is also an artist for details and you kinda need to have a good sound system or be in a quiet place to hear and appreciate them all as they come.