Rock / Alternative
Artist: John Amadon
Produced by: John Amadon
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
John Amadon is an unsigned Portland, Oregon-based singer/songwriter. He’s a rare musical artist in that he never performs live and doesn’t tour to promote his albums. Instead, he focuses on the writing and recording of his music. After taking a five year hiatus from music, Amadon found himself suddenly inspired. This led to the creation of his third full-length album, Seven Stars.
The inspiration for Seven Stars is actually quite interesting. According to Amadon, “I took a nearly five year hiatus from music and songwriting from which I didnąt actually expect to return. At a certain point I started working on a few songs and began to consider recording again. At about the same point I began spiraling into a strange madness focused around a girl I had become pointlessly and desperately obsessed with. The writing began in earnest for this record when I started using songwriting as a tool to help myself sort through this obsession that was making me feel as though I was coming apart at the seams.” Once all of the music and lyrics had been written, Amadon called in some help, enlisting the aide of Scott McPherson, Mike Coykendall and William Slater to complete the album.
John Amadon’s sound is described as being something like Neil Young meets George Harrison. I concur with that and might throw a little John Lennon in there as well. The lyrical style is at some times filled with metaphors and double meanings and at others rather direct and to the point. The directness throws you off when you expect to be engaged in figuring out the metaphoric meaning of a song. However, the music and the vocals are so soothing, you barely care.
I wouldn’t describe the music is rock-n-roll, but I wouldn’t exactly describe it as pop either. There’s really no way to pin down the sound as it floats between the two and has a bit of folk and country added into the mix.
Without knowing the inspiration of this album, I would have guessed that the songs were about a relationship from start to end. Things are optimistic at first and the couple is happy. As things move along there seems to be a bit of obsessive behavior mixed in with romanticism, especially when the singer tells the love of his life that he hopes he can die with her. Then it seems that things become bitter and angry. Quite a story.
I do have some issues with the lyrics. Amadon can tend to get too artistic with his lyrics. Take for example the title track: I love the visual I get when listening to the lines: “When the wave comes / It won’t be a problem / Let the waves come / Make everything new.” That’s an awesome visual and a great metaphorical lyric - waves wiping the slate clean. That’s followed up by: “And I’ve bled dry stones to find you / Now I spread my scourge around.” Bleeding dry stones - I suppose the journey was difficult, but now he spreads punishment around? Hmmm. Maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Seven Stars is definitely an artistic album, so folks who want straight-forward lyrics and music might not enjoy this album. Those who enjoy different musical and lyrical styles might still have to listen to the album a couple of times to get a full appreciation of the work that went into creating it. I may not have liked everything about it, but I can honestly say that the music was extremely well-written and the message of an obsessive relationship was quite clear. Seven Stars is definitely worth a listen.