Recommended Tracks: “It’s a Crime Where I Come From”, “Answer To Everything”, “Don’t Mind Me”
Artists You May Like: IDK How But They Found Me, Death Cab for Cutie, Joywave
When you think about it, five years is a long time. If you compare 2021 to 2016, for instance, you are looking at two different worlds. It can be tricky to try and make sense of the things that have happened during this time, figuring out why certain events happened or even how they happened. Most of it looks like a huge disaster, which is what LA-based artist Jason Halogen depicts on his debut album, Disasterpiece Theatre. Using an assortment of musical motifs and expressive themes, Disasterpiece Theatre breaks down some of the many phases of life that were had over the last few years and finds a way to turn it all into art.
Evident on the opening track, “Kids Love Dinosaurs,” there is a cinematic feel to Disasterpiece Theatre’s ten tracks. Blazing guitar solos, exciting key changes, dramatic cymbal crashes, and swirling synth riffs are just a few of the elements that come through, making the narratives that Jason tells us all the more dramatic. It almost seems as if the lyrics are the accompaniment to the music, as the verses give way to persistent guitar melodies, as they do on “She’s a Genius,” or to twinkling piano, as on “Answer To Everything.” The music just has a life of its own, and Jason is not afraid to let the notes and the rhythms have their moment.
But of course, the lyrics have their own moments as well, describing issues that range from private to public. On the expansive “Ruxpin In the Attic,” for instance, Jason explores the end of a relationship and how the two people have opposing stories about what went down. There is also the upbeat “Don’t Mind Me,” which details the peace of mind that came from knowing we were all going through quarantine last year, sharing this strange experience. The topics get a bit heavier on songs like “Dear Donnie” and “Leave Me Low,” with the former touching on politics and the latter touching on war. The interesting thing about all of the tracks, though, is that their messages can carry over to situations outside of the ones that they are addressing, making them timeless.
Still, with so much going on, there is a desire to overcome the bad times and embrace the good. We hear about being “tired of it all” on “This Too Shall Fade,” but as the title suggests, there are better times ahead. Additionally, “It’s a Crime Where I Come From” tackles the idea of owning up to your mistakes and facing your fears, as not doing so can only make things worse. The album’s closing track, “Sing To Sleep,” is the most encouraging of the tracks, however, as it reminds listeners to be grateful for where they are and what they have.
In general, Disasterpiece Theatre is a riveting ride from start to finish. There truly is something for everyone on this album, whether that something pertains to an anecdote in a verse or a genre of music. Nevertheless, there is enough cohesion from one track to another that does not make this album a random mashup of songs and ideas. Even though Jason started working on the album before the pandemic, he attributes its completion to the time he spent in quarantine, making Disasterpiece Theatre a great addition to the “quarantine projects” that have been released this year.
You can listen to Disasterpiece Theatre on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.