He Is We – My Forever
Record Label: Universal Motown/FrameworkNY
Release Date: November 23, 2010
As a young male that is about to reach his physical and sexual peak, I know what it's like to feel emasculated. Many different things can trigger such an occurrence. There are the obvious things, such as wearing pink, driving a Prius, and crying at the end of Titanic. Then there are other, less general variables like listening to a "feminine" musician or band. Imagine if a group of muscular, mustache-clad gentlemen were to catch one of their buddies alone in a room singing along to Never Shout Never. It's likely that those guys will never allow him to live down the cutesie clichés, and female appeal of the young sensation that is NSN. And now imagine the same thing with acoustic/pop band, He Is We. The result would most likely be the same. Constant torment from the “bros” of the group of guys. But the difference between the two is that the fella blatantly singing along in the second scenario just happens to be me. And despite the femininity of the band, I'm not ashamed to admit that I’ve fallen in love with them. For the simple fact that the guys making fun of me would be missing out substantially.
Represented by singer/songwriter Rachel Taylor and instrumentalist/composer Trevor Kelly, He Is We delivers a delightful taste of slow-paced, female fronted, acoustic pop on their Universal Motown debut titled My Forever. Much more than your average acoustic/pop band, He Is We takes the very feminine genre, and distorts it into an art-form that can be enjoyed by either gender. Humiliation free. From the infectious chorus of opener “Forever and Ever” to the artistically indie closer “Fall,” each track on My Forever conveys an uplifting, blissful atmosphere that is almost certain to cause both manly men and dainty ladies’ fingers to wag and feet to tap.
Lead by an incredibly solid vocal performance by Taylor and backed by the witty musicianship of Kelly, He Is We contrives a 10 track album full of delicate love songs. With lyrics like “Does she look at you the way I do?/Try to understand the words you say and the way you move?/Does she get the same big rush?/When you go in for a hug and your cheeks brush?” and “Lovers dance when they're feeling in love./Spotlight shining, it's all about us./And every heart in the room will melt,/This is a feeling I've never felt” My Forever has enough one-liners to litter a teenage girl’s Facebook wall for years to come. Each song culminated in the line from the outro of “Happily Ever After,” simply stating “We all have a story to tell.”
Along with the charming entity of the lyrics, another satisfying factor of this album is the vocal contribution of Aaron Gillespie of The Almost to the track “All About Us.” Applying diversity to an already catchy and engaging song, the back and forth vocals of Taylor and Gillespie add a certain (I can‘t believe I‘m saying this) adorable-ness to the tune, that is undeniably infectious. I can admit that I have fallen in love with the cliché tendency of this song without feeling any unnecessary embarrassment.
In the end, He Is We may be stereotyped as being a girly band for one to indulge in. A band that must be enjoyed only in secrecy if you are a guy with a reputation of being macho. But I can honestly say that this is not the case for He Is We. The music so graciously provided by Taylor and Kelly deserves to be listened to with no shame, which is exactly what they’ll be getting from me as long as they are still around to create catchy pop melodies.