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COOLHANDTREW - My New Normal - ALBUM REVIEW



COOLHANDTREW

My New Normal

Virginia, United States



COOLHANDTREW AKA Trew doesn’t like to box his artistry. Taking elements of alternative Hip-Hop, indie pop and Jazz sees his latest album release soar to new soulful heights. The title of his latest eight-track album is ‘My New Normal’ – a phrase that has been on the rise over the last few years. So, let’s take a look at what the “New Normal” looks like to COOLHANDDREW.


‘My New Normal’ acts as an anthem for empowering minds as this self-motivated artist tells his authentic story through contemporary measures. The key message to take away from this project is to never give up on your dreams – something that we all hear but not all take on board. So, let’s see if COOLHANDTREW can enlighten you a little through his expressions of hope and inspiration.


The eight songs were produced by a mix of producers from Soulplusmind, Eric Haywood and L1vebeats.


How Many Miles Away ???


Immediately setting the stage for a whole load of soulful energy, ‘How Many Miles Away ???’ takes the opening spot on the album. A dominant funk/soul bass guitar offers up some rhythmic slapbacks along with brass instrumentation and layered vocals that fill the space of the track immaculately. In between the soulful vocals rests the inclusion of an occasional futuristic autotuned vocal that soldiers the split between old-school soul and electronic music. – A great opening track that lifts the energy of listeners whilst showing tiny snippets of what’s to be expected from the artist.


Fall Guy


‘Fall Guy’ takes no time to shine – classic keys, soulful backing vocals and the deepness of brass bring a contagious lift throughout the opening. As the song develops, listeners are introduced to loose and fun soulful hip-hop vocals from COOLHANDTREW as well as some gorgeous vocal additions from an unknown female vocalist. A break in between vocals makes way for a Latin-inspired brass instrument to offer up some jazz just in time for the end of the song.


Heartbeat (Lean into Love) F/ Casey Shae


Heartbeat is a fitting title for this next song. In a synthwave meets funk production listeners are infected with a virus of pure addiction through a continuous funk-based bassline whilst 80s-inspired synths bring the song into a ‘Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia’ meets ‘Chic’ production. A variety of pop, soul and rap make their way seamlessly through the twists and turns of the track.


Pivot


‘Pivot’ is the ultimate old school Hip-Hop track – think Late 90s/Early 00s. The mix of vocals ranges from traditional hip-hop bars that are full of storytelling authenticity to soulful male-to-female R&B/Soul influences. Together, when combined with autotuned vocals, listeners find themselves somewhere in between the classic and new wave of Hip-Hop. – A traditional classic meets modern alternative Hip-Hop gem has been created in the form of ‘Pivot’.


Snubbed


‘Snubbed’ continues along the same execution and energy as ‘Pivot’ to form a solid exploration of COOLHANDTREW’s artistic direction. Making it clear that his mixed vocal style isn’t just a one-off, ‘Snubbed’ stands firmly to hold COOLHANDTREW’s artistry as one of the future.


Live A Little More


‘Live A Little More’ brings something new to the album – Sisco anybody? This song will ensure that anybody listening will feel as though they are “Living La Vida Loca”. This is the stand-out track from the album for me, merging the familiarities of a track that holds so much admiration and putting your own spin on it is a hard thing to do in most cases, but here, it seems like an inevitable move for the artist.


Trouble Featuring Honesty


Honesty may be the featuring artist on this track but let me tell you something – it honestly would not be the same without her! The vocal performance from this artist brings the female R&B energy by the bucketload. Swaying between scales whilst offering listeners something sweet to endure. The instrumentation works perfectly with all vocals on the song making this another standout production.


Be More


The album has now come to its final song and I wanted there to ‘Be More’. This song opens with a distant reverbed melodic sample that slowly grows in velocity as more layers are added. Trap beats bring a scattered percussion whilst a loop of vocal samples linger in the background throughout the track. The vocals of COOLHANDTREW begin soulful and quiet before transitioning into a super rap which rides the beats in a variety of ways. An electric guitar solo brings an extra layer of sexiness to the song for its remaining minutes before coming to an end.


This is a great album, there’s so much going on, without a single part of it sounding out of place or messy. I’m certain that the next project from COOLHANDTREW is going to be an absolute belter!




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