Quarter Life Crisis
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/03/2006
Summer is drawing nigh, and that means the music starts to get sunnier, the beats catchier and all the rest of that good stuff. Arden Kaywin’s record Quarter Life Crisis was released back in February but it definitely captures the summer vibe. While pop records cater more to my general mood, I didn’t get around to this one until now.
Nothing off Quarter Life Crisis is experimental by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is expertly-crafted pop that draws from various other artists to be effective. The opening track and lead single “Me With Me” comes straight from the Alanis Morissette mold. This song is the best off the disc; every aspect of the production meshes perfectly with Kaywin’s solid, melodic vocals. A few gorgeous ballads creep their way in, especially the closing track “Over You.” I’m occasionally the sucker for the over-wrought, melodramatic, orchestral heavy song, and this fits the bill.
Everything is not necessarily fun and games, though, since there is a bit of the introspective singer/songwriter oeuvre to be found. The piano-driven “As Long As You Love Me” tugs at the ol’ heartstrings, just like any good heartbreak song should, while “Numb” goes a little too far in trying to say that the protagonist feels, well, numb. The bright production directly contrasts with the lyrics; it’s too happy-sounding of a track to really get the point across.
If I leveled any criticisms towards Quarter Life Crisis, it would be that a few songs are repetitious. This is the nature of a pop record, meaning the success rides on how memorable that material is, and here the material starts to slow down on the back half. Songs like “What If” and “Unsaid” generally retread familiar ground, although Kaywin’s vocals on “Unsaid” are some of her best.
Quarter Life Crisis ended up playing how I expected it to; it was certainly not a brilliant inside look at the life of a post-graduate student, but it isn’t lacking in genuine emotion. One of the things I enjoyed the most from this record was the heartfelt emotion of Ms Kaywin, a direct contrast to today’s pop singers who favor meaningless randomly spewed-forth crap over real emotion.
OK, rant over. I’ve listened to the whole album and read the accompanying lyrics and still the general theme of the album escapes me. I myself am rapidly approaching the age of this so called “Quarter Life Crisis” that Ms. Kaywin talks about, so I figured this album would speak to me more than others. As it turns out, it didn’t, but in the big picture that meant very little.