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By: Andi Leigh
Have you ever been inside a tornado? If not, listen to ‘Headspace’, the feeling is similar. ‘Headspace’, released May 20, 2016, is Issues’ sophomore studio album released through Rise Records. It’s is a whirlwind of musical styles. You can hear some pop-punk and hip-hop influences as well as some soulful rhythm and blues throughout. What’s most impressive is the band’s ability to implement those influences, yet indisputably maintain their identity. All the elements that define the Issues sound were prominently there, just entwined in a menagerie of other styles. It seems like Issues had hundreds of ideas when writing the album and instead of picking and choosing the best, they incorporated all of them in the album.
“The Realist” is the first song off Headspace and it begins with screamer Michael Bohn rapping followed by clean vocalist Tyler Carter coming in and hitting some pretty high notes. The more times the song is listened to, the catchier and catchier the chorus becomes. “A blessing in disguise, or just broke and pitiful. I don’t fuck with these mind games, baby. But if one thing’s right I saw with my own eyes.” One surprising thing occurs near the end of the track with a bass solo by Skyler Acord which was a nice touch. The song also was made into a music video which was pretty ridiculous to say the least. The following two songs “Home Soon” and “Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)” are dramatically different. “Home Soon” is slower and features more of Tyler Carter while “Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)” begins much heavier and also features a choir section in the middle of the song.
Later down the album begins to fall short. With “Flojo” and “Hero”. “Flojo” flip-flops between an upbeat pop melody and plunges into bogging bass lines and heavy vocals. “Hero” is another unfortunate track with the musical composition being excessive and the lyrics are lacking in more ways than one. “Hero, hero everybody just want a payroll. If the price is right, they might be your hero, hero.” The eighth song “Coma” saves the downfall of the album. It was also the second single to be released. It seems on this song Issues found how to perfectly blend all the styles of music they play. “Blue Wall” the tenth song off the album is dedicated to the victims of police violence past and present. It is a very emotional track, complete with police sirens as well. “Black and blue don’t get along. Blue just wants ‘em dead and gone!” The next song “Someone Who Does” is another profound track. The song references Carter’s questionable relationship with his father, this song is hauntingly relatable. “I’m a man, no thanks to you, Dad. You’re so quick to move on. What about the ones you left behind. How am I supposed to be strong when you’re the weak one?”
Overall, fans will either like the new album or not. It is a whirlwind of an album. ‘Headspace’ exhibits lots of experimentation, but not much growth. Kind of like self-titled debut 2.0. It has the same music, the lyrics are only improved on certain songs, and the others lose their appeal quickly. Some songs like “Blue Wall” and “Someone Who Does” shine musically and lyrically while others like “Flojo” and “Hero” simply fall short. After a while, the album seems a bit repetitive as well. For all the reasons listed above Pop Deflators gives ‘Headspace’ 3 out of 5 stars.
POP DEFLATORS RECOMMENDS: “Someone Who Does”