#2 – Travis Garland -‘Travis Garland’
We’re at number 2 folks with the best album of 2013 (in my humble opinion) being revealed tomorrow. But I still have the task of telling you guys who just missed out on the top spot and lands at number 2 on this run down.
Released at the end of summer, this album flew under the radar of many people and wasn’t a global smash selling millions upon millions of units worldwide. The album doesn’t even have it’s own devoted wiki page, I just checked and there is nothing there! So who is this person who has sped past the likes of JAY Z, Kanye and Justin Timberlake on my list with an album that no one even knows about? Let me introduce you to Travis Garland.
I mentioned listening to his album just on a whim earlier this year as a part of my ‘What I Learned This Week’ segment on this blog. And lets just say I kinda fell in love with the album soon after that.
What do I love about this album so much? MATE! It’s RnB at its best. Anyone who reads my blog surely must realise that I adore RnB and anyone who is making RnB in this era of music always gets my attention. I went into listening to this album with an open mind because I’ve enjoyed Garland’s EPs that he released in the Spring but I didn’t want to expect too much and then get disappointed afterwards. Yes, I am referring to you Britney Jean.
The sound of this album is like a cross between Chris Brown and a fresh faced Justin Timberlake circa his ‘Justified’ album. It takes full advantage of this neo-RnB sound that has been crafted by Miguel and The Weeknd with songs like ‘Where to Land’ sounding so haunting with Garland’s impressive falsetto setting the tone. It similar to the sound I heard on The Weeknd’s ‘House Of Balloons’ mixtape but Garland puts his own stamp on it instead of being a poor imitation.
His falsetto isn’t his only quality because this guy can SING! ‘Chariots of Fire’, a Rock/RnB fusion sees Garland belt like the best of them. He even went all gospel on us with the song ‘Abby Lee’, giving me them passionate church vocals runs. Its such a showstopper of a song and literally made me want to go to Church. Come on guys? An album that encourages religious practice most definitely deserves ratings!
If the album wasn’t diverse enough, Travis Garland tries his hand at Island/Reggae music on ‘Pullin’ My Hair’ and you can hear the accent he puts on for this track to make it that bit more authentic. Rihanna would be so proud! It sounds like the perfect track to e played in the club and I dare anyone to listen to the song and not start bopping their head within the first minute.
However my favourite song on the entire album has to be ‘Neighbour’. The song is a mellow RnB slow jam (or as close to an RnB slow jam you can get to in 2013), sexually charged and plays on the lonely wife next door scenario. This is Garland giving us Justin Timberlake circa ‘Justified’ vibes and I really love the lyrics on this one because even though they promote infidelity,
“While he’s away girl
I’ma do you a favour
Let you borrow some sugar while I’m hooking up your cable
Groceries on the table
Bringing in your paper
If he ask later
I’m just your neighbour, girl”
I find myself rooting for Garland here. Go on son! Get that girl!
I think what makes me love this album so much more than anything else on the list is that I didn’t even expect it. This year so many artists revealed they were releasing albums and promised ideas of grandour like ‘This will be the album of the millennium!!’ or ‘I am a God’ and all that other noise. Whereas Garland just came along, dropped his album and then went across America promoting it on his mini tours.
He is an independent artist so promotion for this album wasn’t going to be on a large scale but rather a case of word of mouth, reading blogs, music forums etc. Thats why I am saying if any of you haven’t heard this album yet I URGE YOU TO GET IT. I remember after my first few spins of this album I went on Twitter and said it was the best RnB album since Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream’ and I still stand by my claims. Its just a damn shame not everyone is hearing this musical brilliance.
Its the kind of album Chris Brown SHOULD be making in his career now but instead he has his personal issues to sort out first which opens up a spot for Garland to be that RnB guy. He just needs a bigger budget and more exposure and I can’t see why not he shouldn’t be on the levels of Usher (when he made RnB) and Justin Timberlake.
The most pleasant surprise of the year in my eyes and ears Travis Garland’s self titled debut album went above and beyond my expectations and shows that there is a huge star in the making with this guy. If this album and his newly released EP ‘Motel Rooms (B Sides)’ (Yes, he did just release an album and now has given us an EP, talk about generous!) is anything to go by, Travis Garland has A LOT to offer. Screw Justin Bieber and his contrived attempts at RnB, Travis Garland is who you should all be paying attention to.