If natural selection favors the most fit, then I would have to say that Royal Wood has nothing to worry about within the microcosm of the cut-throat music industry. The debonair pop musician has left the balladeer of past albums behind, evolving now into a polished, multi-talented artist. His newest album, We Were Born to Glory, sees him incorporate percussion, strings, and horns in a much larger role than ever before. Though he is once again armed with his trusty piano and guitar, this new album truly marks a turning point in both Wood’s artistic style and musical identity.
The nuances of life, longing, lust, and love are explored in their many forms throughout the album. Wood does an excellent job of neither romanticizing the highs of life nor exaggerating the lows. I simply love his song, “Not Giving Up.” The song is a love story that is real: showcasing both the passions and the doubts that come with being in love. The lyrics, “How love can teeter on/The edges of a blade/On either side it waits/The light and darkness play” are powerful: love isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. In the chorus, though, Wood sings that he’s not going to give up; he implies that this love is worth fighting for. That speaks volumes to me because it is honest and heartfelt. Apart from “Not Giving Up,” my favorite tracks on the album are “The Thick of It,” “The Fire Did Go,” and “Hard Thing to Find” I find these three tracks to be excellent examples of what I have been talking about: catchy music accompanying interesting emotions, heartfelt admissions, and compelling messages.
The songs all have a similar flair throughout, giving the record a sense of cohesion. Despite the common sound and feel, none of the songs are too similar, which adds flavor. Although the music generally involves more percussive loops and more complex instrumental arrangements than Wood has used previously, the result, while adventurous, is never obnoxious, pretentious, or taxing.
Each track accumulates, building up to “The Glory,” which is the namesake of both this album and Royal Wood’s current tour. The lyrics are motivational and inspirational, all wrapped up in the raw emotion of his vocals. However, while I appreciate the messages present in the song, I find that the song itself is a bit slow and repetitive towards the end. There are certainly lags at other points in the album as well, and sometimes it seems like Wood is not quite able to hit the notes he is striving for.
All things considered though, I am definitely a fan of the new Royal Wood. He has done a commendable job of evolving to keep up with sounds that are currently popular in the music industry, yet he has done so while staying true to what he is all about as a musician: honesty. We Were Born to Glory is critically acclaimed, and it’s not hard to see why the album has received such success: his new sound is catchy, sexy, honest, and relatable. Like I said before, Royal Wood has nothing to worry about when it comes to the music industry’s process of natural selection; his evolution has been timely, effective, and successful.
So, now that we’ve heard what I think about We Were Born to Glory, are you interested in hearing what Royal Wood himself had to say about his new album and his current tour? Well, a few days ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Royal Wood about these things, which you can read here. You can also purchase his album from iTunes, should you so desire.
Also, please note that Royal Wood’s current tour includes a stop in Edmonton! He will be performing alongside Elisapie Isaac at the Myer Horowitz theatre Friday, October 26th. Tickets are available here. I’m going to be there, and I highly suggest that you join me!