As Expected, Unconventionally Refreshing: Awolnation’s Run

By Charissa Lock

“This album got poor reviews,” Matt

“(Obscenities) you’ve got to be kidding me!” Me

Aaron Bruno has a better ear for music than three quarters the population and is more adept at fusing beats and instrumentation in a pop melody than many who would call themselves musicians.  He doesn’t throw together a mess with a catchy hook and hope it all fares well in the end, probably because he couldn’t even if he tried.  Everything is so precise in the creation stage that upon its final production, the aesthetic pleasure is to die for.   Sure it’s not all radio friendly due to unconventional patterns the songs take and intensity of tracks that explode after hovering in a rather long pause before the drop.  However, radio-shmadio, I certainly do well with little to none of it.  I think many souls enjoy the world of experimental as long as it borders on bouncy melodies and sing along choruses…which is what Awolnation makes sure to provide.

I do love the constant traipsing along the grey area of pop that takes place within the tracks, it could be my favorite part about Bruno’s take on his art.  You can’t not love the chorus of “I Am” (featured in a “World of Red Bull” commercial) when suddenly you’re propelled forward in a blast of “Yeahhh! Yeahhh! Ooooh, someone left the lights on.” Then quite tactfully it travels into the abyss in an instrumental exhale, floating away in a bittersweet farewell. Even in “heavier” (please, they’re not really) tracks like “Dreamers” you may think it’s a softer by-the-book E-infused bass mindf*ck, but there goes Bruno bringing all he has into that genre type.  Quickly satisfying pause drops and leaving you with blood curdling cries layered above the Awolnation-esque monotone “ooh”s.

Let me tell you about “Windows.”  I was surfing around listening to new singles from my favorites and to my pleasure wound up experiencing Awolnation’s newest single, “Windows.” In my typical “really listening” position of laying on my back with big ole’ headphones on and eyes closed, I went into a three minute and thirty seven second out of body experience where I was floating throughout the beats and sailing on the “aww, man”s (my favorite part of the album).   It was absolutely tremendous because at every moment you are experiencing the song.  You know it’s going to turn into something else great in a few and then repeat back to where you fell in love at the beginning.  At the end you experience some fresh love, and your body is now in a completely euphoric state.

I do think Mr. Bruno writes songs so that he can place stellar bridges at the ends.  You know they’re coming, another fascinating feature of Awolnation, and actually… they’re probably not even technical bridges.  They come about halfway through the song and last until pretty much the end with layers upon layers of instrumentation, beats, and vocals filtering through with their own agenda all set in perfect collaboration with one another.  It’s unreal.  Being able to have that many interpretations on one 2-4 minute track where you never feel that it “should be its own song.”  Most tracks fit this bill, specifically “Like People, Like Plastic,” there’s a Supremes doo-wop portion, a lovely little “F*ck your ghost!,” verses sounding a bit reminiscent of “Wake Up” (Megalithic Symphony), all smashed into one and flowing so nicely. “Lie Love Live Love” is another one with such an exceptional bridge that may be my second favorite potion of the entirety of Run.  You can’t compete with that.

600 words later and I only mentioned one of my favorite albums of all time, Megalithic Symphony once, and that is exactly why my response to Matt involved many obscenities.  Awolnation’s first album was filled with wonder and amazement, theatrical and dusted with fascination.  This sophomore is chuck full of grimy beats covered in dirt and sweat…dripping with flawless maneuvering of brilliance throughout every song.   Very different, but both just as unique, like a giant gulp of fresh oxygen. Breathe it in people, breathe it in.

Check out Awolnation on tour and let your mind be blown.

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