The ability to travel back in time has long been sought after and finally the phenomenon has been achieved… just not in the way you’d think. Artists with lengthy careers have lived through multiple decades, performed smash hits, traveled the world, and embraced the music of their period. One artist, however, has managed to discover a time machine that has structured his voice to the tune of a man well beyond his years. This talented vocalist goes by the name of Sawyer Fredericks, a seventeen year-old from upstate New York and creator of A Good Storm. What baffled the minds of millions during his victorious time on “The Voice” wasn’t his ear-pounding power or his long and golden hair like the mane of a lion; it was his heart and soul. Although this weather system of emotion periodically clouds his clarity and quality, it provides listeners everywhere with an abundant genre of moods.
An article from TimesUnion stated that Fredericks “has no business sounding so huskily authentic when he sings about [dark and sensitive topics].” It may be true that Fredericks has not experienced some of these life changing incidents, but after further examination, it is evident that they are at least recognizing the strength of his emotion and his ability to convey it. A Good Storm contains various rhythms and vocal tones, which is what makes the album so unique and nearly incomparable to other artists. “Take it All” sits on top of the list and jumpstarts the album with fiery enthusiasm and thunderous claps of upbeat persistence. Originally from an earlier EP of his back in 2015, its message of “Take the hurt in my chest/Take the pain in my eyes/Take the fear in my soul/Take the tears that I cry” echoes a liberating and burning desire to rid the soul of detrimental issues. Also from his 2015 album are the songs “Lovers Still Alone” and “Stranger (ft Mia Z)” which showcase his ability- as Pharrell Williams once said- to sound like he is “singing into an old, vintage microphone.”
A few other splendid additions to the album (not the only ones) include: “Shots Fired”, “4 Pockets”, “What I’ve Done”, and “Not Coming Home”. “Shots Fired” quickly develops from a chorus of harmonizing hums to an open message supported by drums and guitars. Next, as strange as this may sound, there are two versions of “4 Pockets”. One begins slow and then amps up at the closing minute while the other is a powerhouse by comparison as Fredericks’ past coach Pharrell Williams spiced it up. Then, there is “Not Coming Home”, which is an exquisitely expressed song filled with violins and soft-tapping drums. Although Fredericks is depicting a person who feels far from home and hesitant to return, his tension-free vocal chords glide throughout as if he truly has felt this feeling before. Lastly, there is “What I’ve Done”. This song spans about seven minutes and while beautifully expressed, it conveys a gut-wrenching message about a person that drives his woman to suicide.
So now the question is, what doesn’t Fredericks have going for him? He sings each song like he is personally connected, won a television competition, travels the country performing, and just brought his third album to iTunes. The negative aspects of this album are the dreariness of his songs, the repetition of his background music, and the mechanics of his delivery. “Still Here” is filled with so much heart, that it sounds like he is choking up to push the opening and disheartening lyrics “Goodnight my love”. In addition, the album’s title song “A Good Storm” is also clogged with some pitchy and rugged notes, which is disappointing considering that the title song should positively stand out when in reality, it doesn’t. Next, songs like “Not Coming Home”, “Lovers Still Alone”, and “This Fire” have very repetitive drum beats with the same tempos throughout. This repetition can get a bit annoying if you’re trying to experience various styles and song tempos. Lastly, the diction in some parts of the songs tends to get ensnared by the emotion and pacing, as half way through “Shots Fired”, the track sounds like he says “shatted hard” instead of the intended lyrics.
Sawyer Fredericks has a long and hopefully successful career ahead and his music will only progress to unfathomable heights. A Good Storm is an enjoyable listen and is worth buying as it contains soothing and heartfelt songs, as well a few upbeat and catchy tunes.
Singer/songwriterI Republic Records