Another music review from me, but what is life without music?! :-)
Ryan Cabrera is an American singer, born in 1982 in Texas. He dated Ashlee Simpson for a while which is how he met her manager, who then encouraged him to persue a career in music and introduced him to producers and record lables. Take It All Away was his debut from a record company, was co-produced by John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, and brought him into the spotlight in the States. Take It All Away was released in 2004 and reached number 6 in the States.
The style of this album is acoustic-guitar pop, like a cross between The Calling and Jason Mraz. Cabrera has an impressive vocal range, which is demonstrated in several songs on this album, and most of the background instrumentals are simple and low key, allowing the vocals to come through strongly. It is quite a summery album (probably why i have been listening quite a bit lately!) as there are no tracks that are too heavy or emotional. This album could probably quite easily be background music, but it is also a CD that once it has been listened to a few times, will really keep your attention and can be enjoyed without the distraction of something else!
1. Let's Take Our Time:
In my opinion, a really good opening track. There is a catchy guitar riff that opens the song which carries on throughout the track. One of the stronger instrumentals on the album, although it keeps the laid back and relaxed vibe. I believe that because of these stronger tracks, the album is kept lively and not fallen into "dinner party" music. and this is one of the best on the album in my opinion. The end of the song demonstrates the vocal abilities of Cabrera who can hit some pretty high notes, and can carry it off over the backing track.
This was the song I first heard from Cabrera and was the second single taken from the album. It is a sweet ballad, although perhaps a bit too sugary for some people's liking. I really like it though and this again shows off the high notes that Cabrera can hit! Unlike Let's Take Our Time however, there is a very stripped backing, allowing the vocals to remain soft and lilting, which really fits the message of the song.
4. Exit to Exit:
When I first heard this track I didn't really like it and though it sounded pretty generic, however it really grew on me. I think this may have been because it is about driving, which is when I was listening to the CD! The verses and chorus do sound like they could be from different songs, although somehow this manages to work, going from quick and wordy in the verses to soaring the vocals in the chorus. Another stronger song on the album.
6. Echo Park:
Another song which has a pretty different sounding verse compared with the chorus, but it somehow works. It sounds like it could be a heavier song from the introduction and verse, but then changes into a smoother and floatier chorus, more in keeping with the genre of the album. This however makes the song enjoyable and the change in mood sets it apart somewhat.
7. Take It All Away:
The title track fits in completely with the other songs on the album and is a ballad, along the lines of True. This was another track I wasn't too keen on initially, however the more you listen the better the song becomes. This isn't so sugary sweet as True is although keeps with the gliding vocals and minimal backing track. I really think this is a pretty song and is probably my favourite on the album.
11. Blind Sight
The last song on the album (except for an acoustic version of On The Way Down) which I believe ends it on a high. A song with a little more energy than the previous few, which may lift the mood after a couple of songs that are quite samy and generic. Cabrera's vocals sound smooth and the song is pleasant and summery.
Having praised the songs mentioned in detail, I have to say there is some filler on this album. With only 11 individual songs, you would hope that each would have its own identity, but songs such as 40 Kinds of Sadness and Illusions sound like you could have heard them before, and are pretty generic to the album and this genre in music in general- a bit like acoustic-pop by numbers.
Overall, this album is a good debut for a young artist. Although some tracks are a bit dull, the mood of the album is happy, relaxed and summery, which is perfect for this weather we are having at the moment! Some of the better tracks are growers however, so if you like your music to be in-your-face fantastic, this probably isnt the album for you!
Recommended for those who like Jason Mraz, Lifehouse, The Calling or James Morrison.
Currently selling at £1.07 plus postage from Amazon Marketplace
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Let's Take Our Time
2 On the Way Down
4 Exit to Exit
5 Kinds of Sadness
6 Echo Park
7 Take It All Away
8 Shame on Me
11 Blind Sight
12 On the Way Down [Acoustic Version]
13 On the Way Down