ALBUM REVIEW: Guy Sebastian – Conscious
Over the past fourteen years Guy Sebastian has grown and evolved a lot as an artist. We’ve heard him sing pop, RNB, gospel and soul while also experimenting with hip-hop and electronic synths. And every time he has re-invented himself he has absolutely smashed it. His tenth studio album “Conscious” hears him heading towards a very DIY and experimental sound. This album isn’t going to appeal to everyone because it is very different to anything he’s done before. It’s very synth focused and hears him layering together so many different sounds. There are a few generic pop-dance moments like “High On Me” and “Keep Me Coming Back” that will appeal to the fans of his mainstream chart singles but it’s important that people realise he is more than just that. He elevates that dance sound with the bold “Vesuvius” which channels the new wave of electronic music. It doesn’t have your typical beat drop and that’s what stands out about it. For “Bloodstone” he does Sam Smith better than Sam Smith with a song that throws back to his gospel days. It’s a sound you’ve missed from him and it feels fresh and captivating. Guy has always delivered stunning ballads and this album has a couple of them for your hearing pleasure. “Set in Stone” was an instant fan favourite while “Exclusive” returns to his RNB days and “Chasing Lights” adds in some beat heavy synths into this new-wave ballad. However experimentation doesn’t always work and “Drink Driving” and “Something” are victims of this. They just become forgettable and skip worthy while “Stay In Bed” is a cringe-worthy track that lost me when he mentioned watching Netflix in bed. One of the most ambitious songs from this new era was the lead single “Candle” which is disappointingly absent from this record. But the strongest moment comes from the emotionally raw “Sober”. For this song he tells a story about a close friend of his who is a strong person but for some reason is so weak when it comes to her ex and whenever he calls her drunk she is there for him in a heartbeat. “Cause you only hit me up when you’ve had too much to drink. And I know it doesn’t count, but I love being your mistake. So I pretend that you mean all the words that you say to me. But I know when the sun is up it’s over, tell me how to make you love me sober”. The song impresses with its raw vulnerability and it’s DIY production. It begins soft and intimate and then adds in these big experimental beats that elevates the song. He then revisits this song again on “Reprise” where he strips back to give a pure piano delivery which is beautiful and captivating. This song is truly the centrepiece of the record because it perfectly captures the new direction while still holding onto his roots and pure honesty. This record is very versatile and while it may have some skip worthy moments it’s truly worth the listen to hear him evolve again.