Music Radar: What is Your Name? Album Review

Human kind has changed over thousands of years of history, but one common thread connects them all. Music. Music has always been a passion for CJ. Whether writing, listening, or recording music, his ears are almost never spared a moment of silence. His favorite genres are rock and indie pop, but he tries to reach every genre because you never know what diamonds hide in the rough. He will pick an album to review weekly and really hopes that people find new and interesting music through him.


fair use: Album Of the Year

The cover for “beyond old names, everyone’s songs.” perfectly encapsulates the sound found on the album.

While I was doing my daily hunt for new music a very small and insignificant looking album caught my attention. That album was What Is Your Name?’s recent release beyond old names, everyone’s songs. The start of the year is always really dry when it comes to music because everyone is waiting for someone to drop the first album of the year to get the ball rolling.

I have to say the album cover really represents the atmosphere of this music. The album’s upbeat and acoustic sound are really well represented by the bright summer’s day on what looks to be a farm. The album starts after a brief opening with the song “B.O.N.E.S.”, a short and sweet instrumental with a jangly guitar and a pretty cool banjo solo. It stays in this sound palette for the entire album, with the guitar, drums, bass, and an occasional synthesizer holding the vast majority of the runtime. It mostly stays with that sound, but frequently diverges into noisy messes (for lack of a better word) that I honestly really enjoy like on the song “we met a long long time ago,” when the laid back and pretty opening is interrupted by heavy drums and a seering synthesizer. The juxtaposition of the clean and pristine acoustic guitars and other instruments with the waves of noise really creates a sort of a cognitive dissonance where I simultaneously think that the music sounds bad and great at the same time.

The album loses me during the moments when a risk isn’t being taken and becomes very samey sounding. The song “i, you,” is a very straight forward acoustic rock piece that leaves me wanting just a bit more from the track, one more piece to add a taste of chaos would really bring the song together. While some songs don’t risk enough, other songs take a lot or too much risk. There are tracks like “the beginning,” which I would consider a soundscape rather than a song but I appreciate the attempts to try something different.

While I personally enjoy this album, it is definitely not for everyone. A lot of the tracks lack lyrics and all of the singing is unpolished and rough around the edges. It’s blatantly obvious that the people playing these instruments and the album’s engineers are not veteran professionals. Although a lot of people don’t care for rough production or amateurish sounding recording and playing, to me it shows that this music is personal and isn’t written by a boardroom trying to pound a number one hit through my ears. This music is real and almost tangible.

Overall the album is a good time but I don’t find the songs too boundary breaking to really love, I would give it a 7/10