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Friday, November 22, 2013

Steven James Wylie - Everything I Love

Steven James Wylie - Everything I Love
2013, Red Cabin Entertainment

Steven James Wylie went from being a real estate tycoon to living in his parents’ basement with his expectant wife seemingly overnight.  What seemed like disaster at the time turned out to be a gift in disguise.  Wylie reconnected with his music and it’s all been up from there.  Wylie’s Everything I Love is a heartfelt and poetic ode to the important things in Wylie’s life, and is crafted with a sort of neo-pop aestheticism that has all but been lost in the quick hit musical slaughterhouse of the 21st century.

"Everything I Love" is a heartfelt ode to the important things in life: faith, family, friends and love. Even if you don't agree on all points, Wylie will have you convinced by the time he's done. The chorus is magical, right down to the Eagles-style vocal harmonies. "This Is What Faith Is" starts off well, but closes with an unexpectedly dark and disturbing musical canopy around it.  This is more disturbing than comforting, but that may be the point.  "Flower" is a pretty little love song that's unfortunately way to overlook. While the song is well-written with a pleasant sound, it somehow fails to stand out in this set. "Butterfly" is cut from similar caught, but has a memorable, if overly simplistic chorus and some real energy in the vocal line. Wylie closes out with "Beautiful Souls", a still life of lives that were never still. There's an eerie beauty to this song, which seems caught between memory and eulogy. 

Steven James is a musical aesthetic, ala Dan Fogelberg. His lush, emotive pop arrangements are often beautiful, occasionally to a fault. What's clear is that Wylie has a mastery of composition that's amazing, but he sometimes struggles to bring music, lyrics and energy together in equal measure. Everything I Love is a marvel of developing talent, an EP that even for its lapses is stunning in beauty and detail.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

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