Alexz Johnson’s new album, Let ‘Em Eat Cake, is out now, and it is amazing. Today is the official release date, but I’ve had it on my iPod for a week thanks to the wonders of PledgeMusic exclusives. You can also hear the whole album (not in order) in this youtube playlist:
This album flows really nicely, both in order and on shuffle. There is a nice cohesion to the sounds, styles, and overall production of every song in the album. I feel a jazz/blues style vibe under the alt-rock stylings. Or perhaps it is an alt-rock vibe under the jazz/blues stylings. Sometimes I’m not so good at the categorization of music.
The other thing I like about this album is that it feels like it picks up at the end of the Heart EP, which feels like it picks up at the and of Skipping Stone, which feels like ti picks up…well, you get the picture by now. It’s not that it sounds like her other albums, more like it sounds like there is a progression through her music. Like you can hear her growth as an artist through each subsequent collection of songs. I always like that as opposed to some groups/artists who go from one thing to something completely different in a jarring kind of jump. Perhaps I just like the process of it all.
- Heart Like That
I love the stripped-down, yet layered, production of the opening track. Perfect way to kick this all off.
Favorite line:Sad to see you go / But not for long though
- Let ‘Em Eat Cake
The title track makes me think of perhaps a cross between CCR and Fleetwood Mac. I may be way off on that one, though. Either way, love the driving kick-drum beat.
Favorite Line:Leave it be, I’m not yours and you don’t belong to me
This one has a great pleading sound in the guitar that mimics the pleading in the lyrics. Gives it a nice, haunting quality.
Favorite Line: I do regret / I knew it all along / Can I get a bit of your cologne?
- Gonna Get It
This one is a re-produced version of a song from 2010’s Voodoo and it is one of my favorite songs off that album. Ok, it’s hard for me to actually pick favorites off that album because I love them all, but still. I love this version just as much as the one I’ve been singing along to for the past four years.
Favorite Line: Oh no won’t let it go / Give it up won’t take my soul
- That Pain
A nice follow-up to Gonna Get It, this one centers the energy again (if that makes sense). Kind of like Gonna Get It is how you feel in the middle of a situation and this song is the aftermath when you realize everything is going to fall into place.
Favorite Line: My heart / Knows me better than I know myself / Washing words clean from my mouth
- Heart Turns Black
The slow build up at the beginning to the mini-explosion of the first chorus and then the addition of more layers in the second verse lends a bit of a frenetic feel to this song. Which goes great both with the lyrics and the placement of this song in the album order.
Favorite Line: I choose to run / But the lines all fade / I’ve become someone / I can’t even face
- Tears of a Dragon
This is most definitely the comeback song after Heart Turns Black. The far-away sound makes me think of a movie scene where the character is sinking into the ocean and then their eyes open, kind of right before they realize they need to fight to survive. It could also have to do with the “rise of the ocean” line in there, too.
Favorite Line: It’s hard to see it even right before my eyes / I can’t explain with the sun setting in the sky
- Ruthless Love
It’s like a ballad for those relationships that are doomed from the beginning but just can’t be helped. Love the drums on this one. Adds to that “ruthless” feeling.
Favorite Line: But like the spin of the world / Butterflies you can’t ignore / We never see the oceans end
- I Will Fall In Love
The resolution of the album, hope is restored and the music is appropriately hopeful. The “phoenix rising from the ashes” song. It’s a great mix of hopefulness and a bit of apprehension.
Favorite Line: Chains are falling off / I am letting go / Instead of holding on / I will fall in love
This album was well worth the wait. It was very well written and produced. A lot of artists these days seem to try to get more music out there as quickly as possible, but true artistry sometimes takes time. Not so say every band that puts out an album a year is bad or careless about their music, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to hear the time and effort that has gone into a project like this.