Garland impresses with his abilities big time on this self-titled compilation
Travis Garland • Travis Garland • Stereotypes Music • US Release Date: September 10, 2013
Let’s just cut to the chase and cut all the bull-. Pop (I’d label him predominately contemporary R&B) singer Travis Garland should have blown up by now, period. When I listen to album Travis Garland, I ask myself the question in a Martin Lawrence movie quote: “What the problem is?!” Travis Garland is in the same league if not higher than the best pop albums of 2013, no questions asked. Sure he may not have quite achieved that Justin Timberlake swag yet, but this effort seems like a step in that direction by all means.
“Where To Land” opens Travis Garland strongly, embracing a modern pop and contemporary R&B sound. Garland flaunts his compelling tenor, impressing particularly with a falsetto that seems to be innuendo in itself (if there’s such a thing). Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but the vibe emitted from “Where To Land” is all about making passionate love (“Why don’t you tell me where to land? / yeah, yeah, baby / I’m falling right into your hands… tell me our love is deeper, tell me it’s like the ocean”).
“Motel Pool” is suggestive like the opener, but it’s also poetic, and romantic: “Baby I take the weight from your heart / wash the worries off your mind tonight…” Like the opener, Garland shows incredible command vocally proving to be incredibly talented.
Even the most talented artists likes to have fun too. Not that either “Where To Land” or “Motel Pool” where bores as they weren’t, but “Easy” is all about a percussive groove that gets the blood running hot. Definitely a more grown and sexified Michael Jackson styled cut, “Easy” definitely finds Garland making swag, soulfulness, and overall artistry seem easy.
He’s even better on the gospel-infused “Abby Lee” which is nothing short of a showstopper. Just how churchy is it? Like ‘lets use organ’ churchy! Perhaps it’s sinful and blasphemous, I think every guy can relate to its message, particularly the chorus: “Abby Lee, have your way with me / Abby Lee, I’m starting to believe”. Hey, at least Garland ask for forgiveness over his lust…more than many guys I know, LOL.
“Clouds” is as slickly produced as anything else. It’s also as sensual and suggestive as anything else (“The way my name rolls off your lips / I think there’s no better sound… you’re like a drug, I see them hips…”). Staying attuned to the stoner influence in pop-music, it seems appropriate to allude to being “high” right (“You got your head in the clouds / and I just wanna get high…”)? Horny or not, “Clouds” is another solid showing for TG.
“Pullin My Hair” works well too, with the suggestiveness continuing to run rampant. To further accentuate the innuendo is hip-hop/reggae production work. Honestly, “Pullin My Hair” would be the perfect club cut, particularly with naughty lines like “Oh girl, it’s killing me / tryna put her hand on my trigger, oh no no…”
After a wild night at the club, Garland gets serious about his ex’s mistakes. “You f*cked up, don’t you know it babe? / When you wake up, you’ll still my face…”, he sings on “You Made Your Bed (So Lay In It).” A message ‘tried and true’ as well as a grinding tempo and moody production The-Dream or The Weeknd would kill for, makes “You Made Your Bed” another winner.
After a broken relationship, Garland seeks to begin an immoral one on “Neighbor” in which he sets up this illustrious tale of bedding his married neighbor. Arguably the most memorable line? “F*ck a neighborhood watch / all you need is me girl I’m always on the clock.” A common fantasy, right? Definitely hip modern R&B at its best. Chris Brown would eat this up.
“Other People” chills from the physical, opting for the emotional side of love. If chivalry never showed itself before this cut, it does as Garland proclaims “Cause I just want the best for you / even if that don’t include me.” Still might help towards bedroom aspirations… did I just say that.
Anyways, “Modern Life” adds some rock-soul sensibility, giving Travis Garland sort of a different sound. Here, Garland reminds me of Bruno Mars, particularly given his grittiness. While both “Other People” and “Modern Life” shine, I prefer “AllSheWannaDo”, one of the albums strongest showings featuring a rap verse courtesy of Casey Veggies. The title pretty much gives away the theme, particularly the final word “do” (hint, hint, hint). This is confirmed in the present generation’s speak and I quote “That’s that sh*t I’m talking about…” There it is. Call it young and dumb, or call it swag. We’ll never be “Royals“ according to Lorde.
“Homewrecker” seems sort of a continuation of “Neighbor”, fully embracing going through with the immoral act. “Blue Electric Roses” is stronger though, even with arguably the most unromantic, possibly most ineffective line ever in “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you should f*ck with me.” However maybe Garland gets away with it… for all us other guys, I wouldn’t try it.
“Chariots of Fire” is fiery, but not in the sexual sense. Here, Garland talks about relationship issues as a celebrity, a legit concern and theme: “Saying that my profession is too much and you quit / but you knew what you signed up for the first time that we kissed…” True TG, true. “1 of 1” appears as a worthwhile bonus cut (iTunes). The idea? “You’re the only one… Darling, you are the 1 of 1″. Some girl is lucky in the world apparently, LOL.
My overall thoughts on Travis Garland? Why hasn’t this guy blown up? I think LaShun Pace puts it best, even if she was referencing God and not a secular, parental advisory album: “all things are working”. In other words, all the pieces seem to be soundly working together on this compilation effort by Garland. He can sing, he has swag, he has the looks, and his music is edgy aka sexually charged. Sure there are a ton of pop and R&B singers trying to make it in an oft hellacious music industry, but personally, I think Garland is incredibly special. And who cares if the album runs a bit long? Just more swagaliciousness to take in!
Favorites: “Where To Land”; “Motel Pool”; “Abby Lee”; “Clouds”; “Neighbor”; “AllSheWannaDo”
- Artist To Watch: Travis Garland (dynamicdolls.wordpress.com)