Andrew Farstar – Metamorphosis – Album Sampler/Singles Review
Neat story behind the music of singer/songwriter Andrew Farstar…when you read about how his worldly experience and capabilities for language are concerned, you gotta hand it to this guy for finding a way to incorporate a whole heck of a lot into his art. For instance…fun FACT about Andrew, he’s sung in at least four different dialects…English, Japanese, Chinese and Italian – how incredible is that? He’s singing in English on the love-songs & singles from the sample of his new album Metamorphosis that we’re checking out – but for real…take a moment and think about what a rare category that already puts this performer in. How many people out there can really claim to even sing more than one language? Not many! And that number obviously decreases the more languages you add into the mix…to be able to sing competently in four languages is a true testament to his abilities as an entertainer. You have to assume in reading something like that about Andrew, where you’ll learn he was able to do this by memorizing the words…that’s like…an indescribable connection to phonetics that many would never even be able to comprehend. Credit to this guy…he’s obviously put the effort into his passion for music.
It becomes clear pretty quickly just by reading it all on paper, that Andrew Farstar has tapped into his true love of music…and I’d argue that you can definitely hear it just as much in the songs he creates. The opening track on Metamorphosis, “This Is How I Feel,” audibly drips with sweetness from every moment in its blissful electro-pop, celebratory sound. If he’s going to get accused of anything on “This Is How I Feel,” it’ll likely be for being TOO SWEET…I mean…you could practically get a cavity by listening to this song! I’ll say this…there are times where it might get a bit too pop with the ‘I-I-I’ parts of the chorus hooks…but for the most-part, I think a lot of people would find themselves really enjoying this tune. Andrew has many really unique qualities and textures in his vocals…he’s right up to the rafters with his tone on much of this first track, but in that interesting & appealing way…a sound on the microphone that’s almost somewhere between the sweetness you’d find in Thriving Ivory & Owl City, delivered with a combination of James Iha and Josh Groban in his approach to vocal melodies. It all makes for an interesting & vibrant impression right up front…and from what I’m hearing on “This Is How I Feel,” I think this would definitely be a good candidate to put out there as an official single; the hooks have a lot of crossover appeal that I think a ton of people would love to turn right up. His clever pace & bright energy fuel the melody in Andrew’s words on “This Is How I Feel” – it’s about as close to candy as an audio-experience can possibly get and his perfect mix of wonder, innocence & honesty being expressed in his tone & through the music are certainly bound to capture the interest of many ears out there.
Stripping back the sound in a really brilliantly-cool way, the second cut from Metamorphosis and its smooth sound & vibe satisfy immediately. “My Infatuation (Love Vibration)” sounded to me, like it could be traced back to some of the real roots in the electro-pop genre…back with bands like Scritti Politti, who essentially broke the ground for projects like Owl City or The Postal Service to exist years & years later on. Way back in the 80’s, the gentle approach to melody & pop-hooks from Scritti Politti was ahead of its time…Farstar gives you a reason or two on this second tune to appreciate these kind of ideas in music now. He’s got a gentle & delicate sound on “My Infatuation (Love Vibration)” – but MAN has he found a flow, tone and approach that WORKS on this cut. I will say that, the opening cut “This Is How I Feel” might have a few more ‘wow’ moments overall in terms of it being able to establish an impact on listeners out there…BUT…I kind of feel like “My Infatuation (Love Vibration)” was an entire ‘wow’ moment of its own, all the way through. Farstar moves and transitions beautifully through the chilled-out groove of his new album’s second song, sliding perfectly from the pleasantly relaxed vibe of the verse, right into the uplifting energy & sound of the chorus with ease. It sounds like a comfortable spot for his vocals and sound…he’s really at home here in this atmosphere, and that invitational, welcoming feeling in his performance is passed right onto us as listeners like a warm hug on a cold day.
I’m on record in one of these reviews that I wrote just this past week, for mentioning that the world can always use another love-song. I stand by that…even though I was probably more mixed about my feelings towards Farstar’s “Love Is” than I was any of the other three tunes. Make no mistake – the world CAN always use another love-song…I still think that’s inarguably true; that being said…”Love Is” is about as directly-pointed in its lyrics as the title would imply…and…well he might be going a BIT over the top here in his sweetness for many people. At the end of the day, he’s singing about what “Love Is” – so to find that offensive in any way would just be ridiculous…but Farstar is definitely hitting you right over the head with the subject of this third song multiple, multiple times to make sure you get the point. I think there’s a few factors that might make this one more difficult for me to love…the hand-claps for one…I’m rarely a fan of those. The soft-rock vibe is one thing…I can handle that…but there is truly something odd about this particular track in the sense that it almost comes out sounding really close to a Christmas tune with the bells in the background and chorus of backing vocals…and that’s where this cut gets a bit weird for me personally. There’s a credit to Dylan on this track as well, who I’m assuming is the one providing the opening rap verse & backing vocals to Andrew on this song…I mean, make no mistake, I like and appreciate what they’re both doing here, they both perform their parts as well as any other you’ll hear in this sample set of four tunes. Dylan sounds into it and to be fair, so does Andrew – and if you like the softer-side of music, there’s no reason I can think of that would ultimately prevent you from enjoying the delicate approach and sweet sentiment of “Love Is.” You certainly can’t listen to a song like this and come out with any kind of bad opinion or assumptions of Andrew’s character – you just don’t write a song like this without essentially being an extraordinarily good guy on the inside. And I think people will really warm-up to the sincerity of his passion for music when it comes right down to it.
The final track of the Metamorphosis album-sampler was “Goodbye Is Not Forever (DJ Michael Russo Radio Mix)” – a song that definitely highlights his connection to the lyrics he’s written. For those out there that like bands like Keane, this track isn’t that far removed from an electro-pop sound like theirs. Of the four songs, I felt like he expressed himself the best in his lyricism on this last sample of the record and left us with bold imagery in the words and a real honest performance to go with it. Farstar is right up at the top-end of his vocal register for much of this track, brightening up his tone bar-by-bar as he sings his way through “Goodbye Is Not Forever (DJ Michael Russo),” but still strongly conveying the right emotions to match his words throughout. His performance might not quite be as well-rounded overall compared with what you’ll hear on the other three-tunes…but there’s an added degree of honesty in the way he sounds in this track that I think might actually make it connect more sincerely to the listeners out there. It’s like you can hear that the words have affected Andrew on a personal-level…and I think that extra weight from the emotion is something you can hear in his performance – but that’s what makes it sound more REAL to us overall…because it certainly seems like it’s very real to him. I think this last song of our preview on Andrew Farstar’s record provides the best balance on an emotional-level – and as a result, it’s likely to be the song that would last the longest on repeat listens because of that. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being happy all the time like he was expressing through the first three songs we checked out in review here today, but something about the realness of his performance in the mix of melancholy and acceptance on “Goodbye Is Not Forever (DJ Michael Russo Radio Mix)” seemed to really hit home…and I’d definitely encourage him just as much to explore this side of his music just as much as the celebratory-side of his sound…because there’s something unique in the vibe, approach and sound of this final tune that the others didn’t have. In a good way, in my opinion.
He’s definitely a capable and competent performer…and like all artists early-on into their careers, he’s still got room to evolve and grow. Right now Andrew’s giving us a glimpse of his potential as a singer, songwriter & entertainer through a solid mix of ideas and styles on these songs from Metamorphosis – but I’d suspect that the best is still yet to come from this guy…I have the feeling he’s got a lot more in store for us as the years go by. Time will tell!
Find out more about Andrew Farstar from his official homepage at: http://www.andrewfarstar.net