I'm not a professional music critic, or a professional writer, and I also don't really listen to pop-punk or metal, so when my boyfriend Jacob Stewart asked me to write a track-by-track review of his upcoming instrumental EP Tired Eyes, I was a little nervous. However, he assured me that he wanted to see what his music sounds like to people who don't listen to that kind of music and don't know anything about producing/mixing/mastering. He also said that it would be fine as long as I'm honest. So without further ado, here's my honest review of Tired Eyes.
But first, an introduction to the album by Jacob Stewart.
Tired Eyes EP - Album Notes
Life at 22.
I'm playing catch-up on homework when I'd rather be playing guitar. I'm mixing smoothies at work when I'd rather be mixing drums. There's a battle going on between what I need to do and what I love to do. And music is taking its last stand.
Fame isn't my goal. I'm way too awkward to play a show, let alone a tour. To be honest, I just want you to listen.
When it comes to singing, I'm a smooth 6/10. You won't find any vocals on this EP. But that doesn't mean you won't find strong, meaningful melodies over soundscapes of reverb and roaring guitars.
When it comes to catchy lyrics, I'm not too bad. But I'd rather give you catchy riffs and drum fills.
This is not only an experiment to see if people are down for instrumental hardcore/punk/metal. This is an experiment to see if I can bring these kids together.
I want to show the pop-punkers that metal is actually beautiful, and to show the metalheads that pop-punk can have some serious guts. It's about time to destroy genre elitism and mosh in harmony.
Between taking classes and nonstop shiftwork, I've put hundreds of hours into these songs. I know you've been where I am. You're doing some incredible work, but you want to get home and work on your passion. I want you to sit back, relax, and let "Ibidem" set the tone of your impasse.
I want you to rest your tired eyes.
1. "Ibidem": To me this song is fun and warm and relaxing. It makes me feel like I'm on a beach with my friends during a warm summer night, and we're all dancing around a bonfire. Jacob and I fell in love in the summertime, and this song makes me think of that as well. It's happy and catchy, but mellow. The kick drum during the middle of the song is nice and crisp, and I always enjoy that quick little drum fill at 1:09.
2. "Avalanche": This song sounds like it should be on Guitar Hero or Rock Band. It's fun and youthful, and sounds kind of like something a garage band would play. Like Lindsay Lohan's band in Freaky Friday, except good. The sound sort of reminds me of something the alternative band Phoenix would make. The lead guitar melody will be stuck in your head for days. Starting at 2:00, the song sounds like a strong release of emotions. This song makes me wish I knew how to play instruments.
3. "Back in '82": I'm not an active person, but this song makes me want to go outside and have the time of my life. It's high-energy with a strong pop-punk influence. It sounds like it should be in an early 2000s teen movie, which is a compliment in my book. I could see people happily moshing to this song. With vocals, it could become every suburban kid's summer anthem. Even without lyrics, though, it sounds like you should be splashing around with your friends in the pool, when suddenly the dogs jump into the pool too. The camera pans over and we see a little bit of water splash on your mom, which she responds to by shaking her head and smiling at you and your friends lovingly. The song is wrapped up perfectly with the fizzling out at the end.
4. "One For The Money": I don't really listen to heavy music, so this song sounds a little heavy and angry to me; neither of which are bad things. This song is introspective to me. It makes me picture someone going through something and having an inner conflict, or having to choose between two ultimatums. In the end, it sounds like the two sides are meshing together, or battling it out. This is emotional and powerful. After hearing this song for the first time, my only thought immediately afterwards was "wow."
5. "Disconnect": Fitting title. This song is also introspective for me. It makes me feel sad and relaxed and far off, like I'm looking at my life in third person. It also made me cry the first time I heard it, but I'm still not sure why. It's a short song, but in just one minute and seventeen seconds, it makes me feel and think deeply. It's a great bridge between track 4 and track 6.
6. "Alex Hubert": Okay, this song is straight up scary and evil sounding. The kick drum paired with the distorted guitar sound so juicy and thick, like a musical kick in the chest. The 808 in the background sounds like an explosion. This song is heavy. If I ever wanted to go to a junkyard in the middle of the night with some friends and just destroy everything, this would be what we listened to while doing so.
7. "Zero Days": The warm feeling in this is similar to that in Ibidem. This song kind of sounds like track 1 and track 3 mixed together. I love how the style of the song switches up in the middle. This would be good to use to introduce someone to the beautiful world of instrumentals.
8. "Tired Eyes": The final track. This sounds like it should be used in a commercial for a sleek, new car. It sounds like a well-done culmination of all the songs on the EP. It tells a story, but you get to choose what the story is about. To me, it sounds like acceptance and moving on. There is a melodic theme throughout the EP that is finalized nicely in this song.
The Tired Eyes EP will be released on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, and other streaming services on June 21st. You can keep up with Jacob's music, and hear some of his songs that aren't on the EP, by following him on Twitter.