HONESTLY

October 23, 2013

 

Honestly
Tyler Ward
Tyler Ward Music

 

Tyler Ward is a talented young performer – there is no doubt about it. His achievements as a self-made YouTube star, music producer, and video director are achievements that many aspiring musicians can only dream of earning. However, Ward’s debut album, Honestly, is a bit of a mixed bag. The album may be “honestly” true to Ward’s knack for production sheen and pop-rock replete with swimming delayed vocals and shimmering guitars, but the production is distracting in many instances and contradicts the stripped-down style of the covers that made him famous to begin with.

 

“Dancing on the time roll / The risk is what we find” Ward asserts on the album’s opening single, “Forever Starts Tonight,” an upbeat youth love anthem celebrating Ward’s affection for an unknown particular person, or for his fans in general for having brought him to this culminating point in his career. Alex G inevitably makes her appearance on the album with “Falling,” a dreamy love ballad that shows off Alex G’s smooth upper vocal register on the choruses while Ward deftly fills in the verses, albeit with a forced British pronunciation of “airplane” in the beginning of the song. “Hoopty Hoop” is debatably the most fun track on the album with Ward implicitly paralleling his rise to music stardom to his romanticized first car nostalgia: “Jump in my Hoopty-Hoop baby / Ain’t got a lot of money but I think we’re gonna make it.” Acoustic drums deservedly make their way onto the re-release of the song “Dashes” from Ward’s 2012 EP, Hello. Love. Heartbreak., while the closing track, “Beginning of a Bad Idea,” provides the emotional climax of the album with a minimalistic, heart-wrenching vocal and guitar performance about an ex-lover.

 

Honestly is undoubtedly a milestone proving that Ward can produce sounds that are on par with any pop-rock coming from much larger outfits. However, Honestly inclines one to wish that there was a stripped-down cover version of the entire album – perhaps we should request Ward to cover his own songs?

 

Roland’s Rating: 7/10
Key Tracks: “Falling (feat. Alex G),” “Beginning of a Bad Idea”

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