BWW Album Review: Scott Alan's LIFELINE is Spirited and Musically Diverse
When an artist moves away from the cultural capital that is New York City, it goes against every belief we have in that place to acknowledge and accept that the ability to create powerful art can exist outside of that esteemed sanctuary. However, Scott Alan's LIFELINE - his first record that he has released completely on his own - is alive with spirited lyrics, lush melodies, poignant messages, and heartwarming romance despite being conceived, written, and recorded far from the city that never sleeps.
Fans of Alan are familiar with his ability to write lyrics that resonate on deeply personal levels. The poetry he writes for LIFELINE follows suite; however, audiences will delight in enjoying a variety of ballads, uptempo tunes, heartache, sass, and romance on this album. For example, "Goodbye, New York" features decadent tongue-in-cheek attitude as he bids a hearty farewell to NYC. Conversely, "Once Upon a Time" stands as a lyrical reflection on the struggles life presents and how we continue to push forward and fight. "Thirty-Nine" is a tender ode to aging, while "My Unexpected Melody" is about Alan finding the love of his life later than he expected, but still getting to bask in the radiance and joy of that. Then, "Quicksand" strikes an emotional chord exploring the immediate and long-lasting effects of being molested as a child.
Florida, where Alan currently resides, has seemingly opened up Alan's sound as well. LIFELINE takes a step away from Alan's exemplary skills at writing ballads in the contemporary musical vein and exposes his pop-country craftsmanship. Songs like "Once Upon a Time," "Simpler," and "Life" incorporate and are informed by the twang of honky-tonk piano lines, the shimmer of an electric organ, loving nods to the modalities of modern Southern gospel, and unembellished and earnest vocals.
As the album skillfully vacillates between poignant ballads and playful, uptempo tracks, listeners are exposed to sides of Alan's songwriting that are novel and new to them. Alan's cheerfully bombastic composition for "Goodbye, New York" is delightful. His inclusion of Kevin Gatzke on saxophone for "Once Upon a Time" is an electrifying, welcome surprise. The same can be said for the sensual tango motif that informs "My Unexpected Melody" and the warm, honeyed vocals of Luke Edgemon that add tangible romance to the song.
Meanwhile, "Human," "Quicksand," and "Arrive" give longtime fans healthy doses of what they have come to expect and want from a Scott Alan album. These tunes are sung with heartfelt vocals. Each of these tracks plays with the heartstrings, ensuring that the listener reacts viscerally on an emotional level as the songs reach their climatic moments. Furthermore, the way that Alan's defiantly hopeful optimism in the vocal line contrasts with the darkly tumultuous accompaniment for "Quicksand" makes that piece truly haunting.
Scott Alan's LIFELINE is available now. It can be purchased from his CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. For more information, please visit http://www.scottalan.net. You can also follow Alan on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.