Album Review: Brett Vogel – Never Giving Up
Brett Vogel exudes pop music. It’s the kind of music you can put on and just relax. Maybe I’m influenced by his recent music video, but it seems to me like it’s music meant for the beach. With inflections that put listeners in mind of mid and late-90s pop rock, Vogel is sure to find some fans among late Gen-Xers and older millennials.
“When You’re Lonely” begins with some groovy strings and an upbeat rhythm section. Immediately Vogel’s high tone creates a unique feeling. As the poppy backing vocals fill the track, listeners get the sense of the 90s. It’s a song about trying to convince someone to be together. It’s about looking back on what could have been, hoping for what could be.
The second track “Never Giving Up” is definitely the single for this album. It’s ultimately and encouraging song with a different kind of upbeat feeling. The vocals are a little more of that late 90s pop rock sound I mentioned earlier. “I am never giving up on this love” is the repeated sentiment of the song. It really doesn’t sound like a song from 2015.
“Two Times the Killer” is slowed down, highlighting the strings a bit more. It seems to be about some kind of broken relationship or past experience that continues to get at him. The song has a lot of attitude about trying to move on from that bad situation. “Surcease in Time” is also a tad slower at the beginning, with a more introspective feel to it before speeding up for an aggressive rock sound. The piano and electronic elements coincide for a different feeling. When the harder guitars come in, the song really, really feels like the 90s. I keep thinking of bands like Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, or even Counting Crows. It’s that kind of rock.
“California Take Me Away” has a totally different feel to it. “I don’t like to sleep when I’m alone,” is the opening line, a real authentic look at loneliness. “So I’ll just keep on drivin’… the skyline is so beautiful today.” It’s a road anthem and, like the genre demands, there’s the tension between where you’re going and where you’ve come from. It’s probably the best track on the album.
“Crazy About a Girl” really reminds me of high school. Both the whole lyrical theme of being infatuated with someone, but also in the style of music. It’s got a real interesting alt rock vibe to it. The following “All of the Others” stays in a similar romantic lyrical space. There’s a twangy steel guitar on this one, giving it the only real country flavor on the album. The others are stealing his soul and he’s “tired of letting go.” It’s a cry out for intimacy.
The final track “The Albatross” has a gorgeous cello line. I’d love to hear a full album featuring more of that cello! It’s probably the prettiest composition on the whole album. The lyrics continue with the album’s persistent romantic theme. The concept is that the person is an “albatross around my heart,” which reminds me of something Poe might have written.
All told, this is an interesting album for fans of 90s pop rock. Some people will probably find relatable lyrics about bygone relationships. And for Vogel’s case, I hope he finds the person and relationship he’s seeking. He sure put his heart on his sleeve for this album.