Tilian - Material Me
Record Label: Vital Records
Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Though leaving bands and joining new ones are very commonplace in the music scene, few artists’ journeys can claim to have been more chaotic than that of singer Tilian Pearson in terms of what bands he finds himself associated with. At one point, he was the frontman of up-and-coming alternative rock outfit Tides of Man, but was kicked out due to pursuing the open position left by Cove Reber’s departure from the Post-Hardcore has-been Saosin. Releasing two demos with them, it seemed as though Pearson would continue to work with them, but it seems at this point it was not meant to be. From there, he was announced to be the lead singer of a band called Archives (now known as Night Verses)… a short-lived venture that Pearson left almost as quickly as he entered. Finally, in late 2012, he was confirmed as the new frontman for Post-hardcore posterchild Dance Gavin Dance, who are now entering the studio to work on their next album. Only time will tell what Pearson will bring to DGD’s new material, but for those itching for more Pearson, Material Me, his solo debut, will certainly help the wait.
Let’s get something clear right out of the gate: Those looking for the style of music Pearson made while in Tides of Man will not find it in Material Me. What they will find, however, is a finely crafted pop album that stands out just as much for its expertly crafted composition and instrumentation as it does for Pearson’s unique and iconic vocals. Light in tone and subject matter, but willing to hint at deeper concepts than are generally explored in pop music, Material Me is a unique fusion of the catchy melodies and driving beats of pop music, but with the weight of a genuinely fantastic lyricist thrown behind it. Love may play a huge part in theme for the album, but Pearson’s clever use of analogy and wordplay make it anything but cliché.
“Rock artists do pop better than pop artists!” I remember a Youtube commenter saying when Tilian Pearson released his first single “Chemicals” almost a year ago now. Pearson has certainly proven this for himself with Material Me. While by no means a perfect album, it holds its own against the best offerings the giants of the genre are capable of — with the added benefit of legitimately well-written lyrics. When Material Me is good, it’s very good. Though between the high points, the tracks can find themselves somewhat forgettable from time to time, suffering from more than a dash of sameness. While this leads some tracks to possibly fall to the wayside for listeners, the album is coherent as a whole, and makes the most of the 40-minute runtime of its 11 tracks.
Things start out very strong for Material Me with its opening track “Now or Never,” with a cool-feeling melody and firm, driving beat, but it becomes clear early on the real attractions are yet to come. The third track, “Waste My Time” is a fantastic and energetic romp with an instantly memorable chorus. But it’s the fourth track, “Chemicals” that will leave one of the strongest impressions on listeners, with easily the most memorable melody on the album, and lyrics sang with such passion, it hits deeper than your usual love and party song.
When it comes down to it, Material Me’s biggest issue comes as a by-product of its greatest strengths. There are two types of songs on the album: those the fun, meant to dance to tracks, and intense, passionate ballad tracks. The track-listing, while strong at the beginning, seems to place the tracks non-discriminately from the half-point on, allowing the undisputed strongest track, “Favor” to be placed two-thirds of the way through the album, as opposed to towards the end. While the ending track, “Feel It Again” is by no means a bad track, is one of the weaker offerings on the album, with an abrupt and unceremonious ending, and its nature of being one of the more light-hearted songs on the album leaves Material Me’s ending overall feeling less powerful than it has the ability to.
Despite an ending that leaves a bit to be desired, Material Me is an album that, on top of being great in its own right, proves the versatility and talent of the artist behind it. Tilian Pearson has successfully transplanted himself from one genre to another so masterfully, it’s hard to believe that this is only his first foray into pop. Pearson hits the sweet spot between songs that are enjoyable simply for being simple and fun, like “Waste My Time” and “Chemicals,” and songs that hint at a much deeper talent pool like the whimsical “Up in the Air” and the phenomenal and sadly beautiful “Favor” that unleashes a heart-wrenching bridge that will without a doubt seal Material Me as more than just a pop album. It’s an album that transcends the genres it may seemingly fall into due to its individual parts. But the sum of these parts accumulate into so much more than the elements of which it is comprised. Do not miss Material Me, the best pop album so far of 2013.
I don't normally like this type of music, but his voice is fantastic and this album is sooo good. Nice review, other than not liking Feel It Again which is one of my favorite songs on the album :)
Don't get me wrong, I do like Feel It Again, especially the bridge portion :) I just think it could have been more appropriately placed in the track listing :)
I definitely don't usually go for this particular type of music either, and as much as I've enjoyed Tilian's work in the past, I was afraid that it wasn't going to change my mind on that. I am very happy to say that I definitely was wrong in that assumption :)