By Ibn-Umar Abbasparker of Indie Band Guru
Relationships are a complicated topic with a wide multitude of facets. Brooklyn alt-soul musician Adrian Daniel seeks to explore all of them in his newly released debut album Disillusions.
Every song on the album is a record of his past experiences with love, romance, and relationships. While everyone may have had experiences similar to Daniel’s, he presents them in a way that makes them fresh to any listener. At the same time, he displays his skills as a virtuoso musician and singer.
Adrian Daniel Examines Loves Lost
“Pride” begins with Daniel singing distorted, modulated vocals. It’s quickly followed by a brief sample of orchestral music. Once it fades away, the song becomes flooded with piano melodies, drumbeats, guitar hooks, funky bass lines, and keyboard synth sounds.
All the while, Daniel astounds listeners with his euphonious, soulful vocals that are reminiscent of Ne-Yo or Usher in the early 2000s. He displays the extenst of his octave range in parts of the song when he hits the high notes and holds them with apparent ease.
“Devoted” opens with a short burst of electronic chirps and a twangy, bluesy bass line. As the bass line continues, it’s joined by synth melodies, drums, and cymbal taps that form a cohesive, uniform rhythm.
This song centers around feeling undervalued and underappreciated by your significant other. Blunt lyrics such as “You’ve wasted all my time, babe / Now all my love’s expired, babe / Couldn’t you see that I’d have given my life for you” serve to express that latent frustration and aggravation. At around 2:20, the orchestral samples return and add dramatic undertones to sharpen the message. The song concludes with a nice, resonant fade-out.
The track “Stone Cold Case” starts with Daniel’s powerfully emotive vocals leading the way. Then, booming drumbeats enter the song with bass lines and tambourine shakes while expressive piano melodies are tossed into the song juxtaposed to striking guitar hooks. These elements combine to create a bittersweet tone. Regarding the lyrics, lines like “Went around the world / Just to escape your clutches, babe” reveal an insightful iota about the confinement of relationships.
The same puissant emotions are shown in “Hollow Shell.” After a few opening verses from rapper LO, a crisp piano melody takes over the song. It’s layered on top of pulsing, throbbing synths and beats characteristic of electronica music.
The true power arises from Daniel’s lyrics. Lines like “There’s not enough drugs in this world to make me forget/And not enough gin in this cup to rewrite my fears” reveal his desire to leave a relationship that’s empty and no longer fulfilling.
Then’ there’s “Fool,” where Daniel discusses his regrets about falling in love with someone. It starts with synth sounds, drumbeats, and cymbal flourishes. The song is then peppered with samples of chiming, bell-like sounds that add a touch of cryptic intrigue.
Adrian Daniel hits the point directly with lines such as “And I never thought I’d say this / But I regret the day we made love.” Meanwhile, Daniel belts out haunting, mournful vocals that help establish a dark, brooding mood and a meditative tone. Between 2:57 and 3:30, there’s a strong, expressive guitar solo that matches the intensity of his vocals.
Disillusions tells a series of stories that’s familiar to many people. This subtle familiarity allows these songs to touch both listeners’ ears and their hearts.