Getting Back Into It

Matthew Wood, Staff Writer

     Past the cringingly juvenile album title, solo artist Mike Hadreas offers up a soft, vulnerable album that has captured the air and delicacy of Jeff Buckley or Elliot Smith. The album begins with a calm, serene swell of piano that is coupled with atmospheric layers that bring the song to a calm climax.

     But keeping the songs short, it abruptly ends and is replaced by a simple guitar and echoing vocals. Hadreas brings a very strong ability to conjure up somber moods, and shows himself as a prominent singer-songwriter in this release.  In “Normal Song,” he only utilizes a single guitar, and his own voice. In this simplicity, the sincerity it conveys is both intimate and accessible. His lyrics speak of fear, not only his own, but that of each person, and warns against fear of being hurt, saying that “No violence, no matter how bad, can darken the heart, or tear it apart.”

     His Jeff Buckley influence is both his saving grace and his downfall, however, particularly in “No Tear.” It creates an excellent mood for songwriting, but some points feel almost imitation beyond flattery, and are eerily similar to Buckley’s album “Grace.”

     This pitfall is quickly skirted around, however, with “Take Me Home,” one of the more upbeat songs on the album, which displays his unique voice, as well as his knack for love drunk songwriting. Though it focuses on his own weariness, the lyrics coo and swoon over a girl who he would do anything for.

    Unfortunately, as the album progresses, the airy vocals and reverberated guitar get a bit repetitive, without much variety. Though the sound is still enjoyable, it could do with some different ideas.

     It ends up lacking conflict. It lacks the dissonant and minor chords that provide strife and struggle and convey troubles in the music. It’s a movie with no antagonist, which even though lyrically it’s sad, it ends up not delivering that mood in most places.

     It remains catchy and haunting, and chilling at times, but fails to tap into that innate sorrow that the lyrics are trying to portray.

     “Put Your Back N 2 It” successfully dabbles in different styles, but never really commits to one enough to expand it. As a very surface level and enjoyable listen, it’s easy to take in and enjoy, but you don’t really end up with a feeling of really learning anything. The album ends up a feel good movie that you see once, and are glad you watched, but in the end it’s not deep enough to watch again.