AWOLNATION – Run – Review

Reggie Myers

Reggie Myers is a writer and communications professional living in Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated from Temple University. Music, television, film, books, video games, politics, and human sexuality are just a few of the many things that make him tick. When he's not working behind a computer screen, you can find him looking for new adventures, practicing photography, scheming ways to get to the front row of a concert, or scouring the corners of the internet for new music to put his friends on to. @reggieakil

AWOLNATION exploded onto the music scene in 2011 with ‘Sail’, which stayed on the charts for years after its initial release.  After seeing the success of their first album and touring around the world, the band secluded themselves to try and reach the high bar they set for their follow up.

When they released the lead single titled ‘Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)’  last month, which I wrote about for Give It a Listen, I said if they kept this up then I could see them being a name to remember in music for years to come. Let’s see if they were able to do that with their second album Run.

Sound

Being an indie rock band gives an act a lot of room to play with its sound, and frontman, producer and songwriter Aaron Bruno attempts to use as much of it as possible on Run.

Fans of Awolnation can expect to hear influences from many genres besides traditional alternative rock that people have become accustomed to over the past decade. These genres include electronic and synth on the foreboding ‘Run’, pop-rock on the catchy and danceable ‘Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)’, southern rap in the baseline of ‘Windows’, and acoustic pop-folk on ‘Headrest for My Soul’.

While all of these songs stand well by themselves, they don’t always coalesce well to form one project. The project continuously switches back and forth between hard-hitting, high energy songs and mellow, acoustic numbers, and while some of the transitions are meant to represent some the manic highs and lows experienced in the songs, some take listeners by surprise (‘Run’ → ‘Fat Face’) while some seem misplaced (‘Headrest for My Soul’ → ‘Dreamers’).

Content

The song content is consistent throughout the entire album as listeners will be able to get an idea of what this album is going to be about by the third song.

Beginning with the self-titled opening song, the content and composition of the songs help to move the story along to its explosive conclusion in ‘Like People, Like Plastic’. Bruno takes listeners through each step of the emotional rollercoaster that is this on-again, off-again relationship.

‘Hollow Moon’ found him trying to peacefully end a bad relationship while ‘Woman Woman’ finds him admitting he almost fell apart without his other half. ‘I Am’ is a song of resilience in the face of betrayal and hurt while ‘Holy Roller’ and ‘Headrest for My Soul’ find him defeated and depleted.

Bruno’s range of emotions seem realistic, helping to ensure listeners can find at least one song they can relate to and enjoy.

Final Thoughts

While not exceptional, Run is still a good album. Many of the songs are enjoyable and capable of being singles.

Bruno said everything on the album was thoughtfully placed, and while his dedication shows, there is still room for improvement. While Bruno’s storytelling ability is great, his song and musical arrangement can be a little better timed. However, that can be difficult to realize when you wrote, produced and performed the entire album the way Bruno did.

If he learns from the mistakes of this album, Awolnation will only stand to benefit. Who knows? They may even be able to get another song with the staying power of ‘Sail’.

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