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Wrabel Releases Poignant Debut LP "these words are all for you"- Review

Written by Megan Langley

Wrabel has built up a large following over the last few years with early hits like “We Could Be Beautiful” and “The Village,” both of which led me to discover and become a fan of his music. His debut LP “these words are all for you” has been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.

The album opens off with “good,” where Wrabel’s voice is put on display through a beautiful a capella performance, and the harmonies add extra layers to it. The piano gets added in during the very catchy chorus, and that (alongside the drums) helps drive the rhythm of the rest of the track.

Track two, “wish you well,” opens with piano and vocals, but the added chorale of vocals during the chorus brings some extra emotion to the track, and the strings in the bridge make that section feel bigger and more anthemic. The lyrics of this track such as “I hope you find what you’re looking for / I wish you well, the ones I loved before” and “Ain’t it funny, ain’t it sad, the way that love can hurt so bad? / But I’m not digging up the past”, describe someone reminiscing on past relationships that didn’t work out and show them moving on, but also wishing those former partners the best.

Third is one of the singles, “back to back,” and the piano pairs up with a simple kick drum and some keys and synths to drive the rhythm during the verses. The pre-chorus is where featured vocalist Duncan Laurence comes in and harmonizes, and that section gradually builds up to a huge chorus, where the vocals state “what is love? I feel like I’m never enough” through an emotive performance.

The contrast in the dynamics between the verses and choruses makes the song a really powerful track and a strong choice for a single.

A cinematic intro initiates “nothing but the love,” while an acoustic guitar, four-on-the-floor drum pattern, the piano, and some softer vocals drive the verses. The choruses sound much bigger than the verses, bringing a contrast similar to that on the previous track, and the choruses here bring in more instrumentals and another massive chorale of vocals.

The title hints a little bit at the lyrical theme, as Wrabel states that “nothing but the love you give” could do things such as “find me down so low, take me so high,” “heal the pain of a broken heart,” and “take a tired soul and make it restart.”

Next up is “london,” which is driven by a mix of acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar. The verses are very descriptive, as he makes notes of various surroundings and through a heartfelt performance in the chorus, he continues to explain how simple things can easily bring back certain memories he had with the person the song is about.

The album slows down a bit once “don’t pick up the phone” begins, and the simpler instrumentals allow Wrabel’s talent as a vocalist to shine through. The following track, “cars,” also has some more minimalistic instrumentation, but the lyrics and performances evoke a lot of emotion.

Lyrically, this one touches a bit on mental health, particularly through lines such as “'Cause I'm still awake grinding in my head, thinking I just might not make it” and “And if you could see me now, it might just kill you / All the lonely nights are only getting harder.”

Another song with a title that hints at the lyrical theme is “let love in,” because as its title may suggest, the lyrics are about trying to let someone in despite any fears or hesitations one may have about doing so, explained through lines like “But I don't wanna waste time living on the outside / What you doing tonight? 'Cause I'm ready to let love in.

In regards to the music, the vocals and piano take the spotlight at first, but some strings are added in here and there to build up the chorus (where Wrabel hits some impressive high notes vocally), and the additional instrumentals in the bridge help expand that section and turn the song into more of a ballad.

“it’s us” is primarily led by acoustic guitar and vocals, but the drums kick in during the second verse, and the guitars, (alongside those drums), drive the emotion-filled bridge. Featured vocalist Madi Diaz takes over the second verse and adds some beautiful harmonies in the choruses, and this track also includes some lyrics that really stood out, particularly “Trying to fit each other into a little box we both outgrew” and “In and out of who I was, and who you are, and who we could be.”

Speaking of lyrics, the second-to-last track “pale blue dot” is one of the strongest on the record in that aspect. The title serves as a metaphor for the earth and all the people inhabiting it, and the lyrics are reflective and a little philosophical, thinking about finding satisfaction and joy in life (“I wonder what happiness feels like, I wonder if I felt it before”), the inevitability of death (“I wonder why some people live, some die so young”), and wondering why unfortunate situations happen to us all (“I wonder why we're dealt a hand we cannot change, and if I knew, would it matter anyway?”).

The album concludes with “love is not a simple thing to lose.” The synths, piano, and eventual percussion keep the song upbeat, and that rhythm and the mesmerizing vocals make the song an engaging and overall strong closing track.

With “these words are all for you,” Wrabel has crafted a poignant and brilliant debut album.

You can stream “these words are all for you” on all streaming platforms. Keep up with Wrabel on Twitter @Wrabel and pick up his merchandise here, and if you’ve heard the album, be sure to let us know what you think by tweeting us @lgndsoftmrw!

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