Mutlu – Good Trouble Album Sampler – Singles Review
I mean…let’s face facts here…you’re doin’ A-OK out there with your music if you’ve got the legendary John Oates on speed-dial & willing to collaborate.
Apparently, that’s what’s up. Mutlu Onaral has established quite the reputation of the course of six released records and shared stages with titans of the scene by touring all over the countryside & beyond with amazing names in the industry like Adele, Katy Perry, Leon Russell, Todd Rundgren, The Blind Boys Of Alabama…and the list could go on & on I’m sure. You get the point – the man’s got serious chops.
So…for this here review, I’m taking the meat right outta his sandwich! I’ve got three cuts from the mid-section of his new record called Good Trouble to discuss with you all right now – and as a bonus for ya, later on down the road, I’ll be taking our examination of this album even further in a separate review of the lead-single “Lifeline” over these next twenty-four hours or so. Keep your eyes peeled to the ol’ page here for that article to drop as well – we’re celebrating all-things Mutlu at SBS for a bit here – woot!
Let’s begin with a cut called “95 to 5” – which upon first impression from title alone, sure makes it sound like Mutlu’s putting in more hours than Dolly Parton or Jane Fonda ever did. Nothing nearly as cornball happening here in the music, I assure ya…it’ll give ya the blue-collar vibe for sure, but that’s a result of the grounded lyricism you’ll find…otherwise, nothing else too much in common with “9 to 5,” I promise ya. Mutlu proves to be a man of the people here…you can hear from the words he’s written into “95 to 5” that he’s been with ya, shoulder-to-shoulder in the daily grind and certainly understands what it’s all about & what it takes to get through it. And in a sense, we get to know him a lil’ bit more through the making of a track like this – he might detail a few of the thangs in life that we gotta get through in order to stay alive & survive out there, sure, but we’re also now learning that music would serve as his escape from all that…and it definitely sounds like the place he truly belongs. Guy’s got genuine style in his sound and he puts it to WORK here, as smooth as can be, with soulful vocals to come along with the insightful lyricism you’ll find within this groovin’ cut as well…definitely a strong first impression (though technically the third track on Good Trouble) and a song with a great combination of sparkle, shine, and something authentic to SAY, yet highly relatable. Mutlu proves he’s got it all goin’ on in his favor – the musicianship is spot-on, inventive, and outstanding in tone & clarity…spots like the solo-section around the ol’ 2:30 mark will confirm that, as spectacular as the vocals are, there’s quite a bit worth mentioning in the music too. So dig on that cool cats…Mutlu ain’t messin’ around here – this man came to play!
I made the call personally to include “Scarred” into the lineup of tunes I’ve got here in review and shift “Lifeline” to its own separate dealio in an article to come…because I think this is a really noteworthy track from Good Trouble that shows a completely different side of Mutlu’s sound & dimension of the depth you’ll find in his material. Downtrodden for sure, but exceptionally melodic – Mutlu’s got himself immersed in a flawless melancholy here and blanketed within powerful emotions that have serious weight to them. You couldn’t ask more from the guy here as far as my ears are concerned; the guitar is absolutely stellar…the vocals are immaculate…and ultimately, “Scarred” provides one of the most isolated & emotionally-haunting sounds I’ve heard in years. Could be that I’m in the perfect mindset & mood to experience this particular song…I’ll admit, that’s possible that could play a role – but ultimately, it comes down to exceptional songwriting and remarkable execution here. Fantastic use of harmonies, gripping emotion, powerful words & vocals all throughout…and for as delicate as “Scarred” may appear on the surface, it’s about as bold as a gentle sound could ever be. The hooks are fully memorable…which of course, is great – we all want that as songwriters & musicians I’m sure – but where a track like “Scarred” goes even FURTHER beyond that, is that it’s not just the hooks you’ll remember, it’s the whole feeling this song will give you. It’s like you can’t wash this one off…and I mean that in the best of ways, whatever those might be…this song sticks to you is the point I’m making; the emotion clings to your bones and the sadness makes itself known from the very moment this track begins. “Scarred” pulls zero punches in how real the experience becomes…and that’s what makes it just as beautiful and to be admired every bit as much as you have to acknowledge the infinite sadness that Mutlu dives into here. Exquisitely sad really…I love the falsetto vocals Mutlu adds into this song – it was like the cherry on top; the emotions here are wonderfully fragile, but the confidence you’ll hear in the performance is what gives them all their power…it’s the way it’s sung & played that has you feeling it.
“Ain’t no doubt about it” – we needed a bit of audio-sunshine to brighten up the vibes of Good Trouble after the heaviness of a song like “Scarred” – and “Nothing In This Whole World” featuring the one & only John Oates collaborating with Mutlu, is here to provide ya with exactly that as the record plays on. Bass-lines shine with a silky smoothness all throughout this tune – but to be fair, there ain’t a thang about this tune that doesn’t shine brightly with personality, spark, and inspired sound! Mutlu emerges from the emotional-cocoon of the previous song and opens-up like a flower in full bloom on “Nothing In This Whole World,” embracing love like he’s throwing his arms around the entire world at once in a hug. I honestly think it all stands out and all for the reasons you want…the drums are perfectly on-point & crisp, the guitar chimes in at all the right times with key additions to the melody in the music, the aforementioned awesomeness of the bass on this song…the incredible & essential backing vocals…and the brilliantly lively & soulful vocals up-front on the lead – you couldn’t ask for a more invested performance here…everyone’s got their A-game goin’ on. Maybe that’s the influence of the legendary John Oates in the house to lend his magic…maybe that’s put the spark into the soul-filled sound you’ll discover on “Nothing In This Whole World” – and I’d imagine that’s likely the case, how could it NOT be? Amazing to work with such a musical hero and songwriter’s songwriter like Oates, and Mutlu decisively makes the absolute most of every second of this unique opportunity…the vocals of this cut are spectacular, straight-up – and the entire upbeat vibe & loving atmosphere created here is exceptional from any angle you could possibly examine it from. Another tight track that confirms just what a solid talent Mutlu truly is…another great reason to listen to Good Trouble…and another song that shows the combination of craft, passion, skill, and genuine desire to make music all leads to beautiful results.
Loving what I’m hearing on this record so far…stay tuned and I’ll have more to say on Mutlu’s music here at our site soon…keep this story goin’ for ya & give ya another reason to listen. He’s certainly given me plenty and I’m excited to both hear & talk about more of this record…until then, stay connected and visit his official site at: http://www.mutlusounds.com