Alexander Wren captures the art of storytelling with ‘To Whom It May Concern,’


Recommended Tracks: “Beautiful Women”, “Don’t Shoot”, “Green! Green! Green!”
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Rayland Baxter, Mt. Joy, Wilderado

Life is worth sharing. We can go through it alone, exploring all of its sights and sounds in a singular way, but the experiences should not be contained. It is why books are written, movies are created, and albums are recorded – just ask Alexander Wren. The NYC-based artist spent years as a service worker, cleaning toilets and picking dead rats off the street, all in pursuit of his debut album, To Whom It May Concern,. With this album, Alexander is able to share his stories, his life, with anyone who chooses to listen, capturing the necessity of storytelling and the beauty of classic American songs all in one go.

One of the themes on To Whom It May Concern, deals with relationships – wanting them, losing them, and wanting them again. Alexander pens a love letter to an “Unknown Girl” on the opening track, admitting how much he already loves her despite knowing nothing about her. It is a blissful and jazzy offering, the keyboard and the soft vocals putting us in a warm place until he finally meets this future lover. The mood then changes when we get to “The Earth Is Flat,” which is all about a breaking point. Over heavy downbeats that reinforce the downhearted mood, Alexander sings, “Heaven is below us / Hell is above / Sky is green / The grass is blue / Tomorrow is in the past,” going off on how he feels when he hears, “I love you.” He equates it with a lie, and he knows that there is nothing left in the relationship. He tries to find love once again, however, on “The Long Way,” setting us up for an intimate take on rekindling a romance.

Another aspect of life, and theme on the album, involves disappointment in the every day. The message is obvious on “Everything Is Meaningless,” where Alexander pairs unenthused lyrics with jubilant-sounding choruses and verses, making the situation sound less severe than it is. There is also “Full Time Blues,” which focuses on trying to keep it together when doing basic shit. Its gospel sound helps drive the tears away, turning it from pessimistic or dejected to optimistic and comforting. With “Thought I’d Hit The Lotto,” Alexander presents us with a piano-based ballad and gives into his defeat. Accompanied by dramatic strings and clarinet, he sings about wanting to be an actor, winning the lottery, and ending world hunger, but acknowledges that those dreams are dead.

While sifting through these stories, Alexander finds the time to elaborate on causes or concerns that are close to his heart. Capturing the 50s rock style and sound à la Elvis, he shows his appreciation for “Beautiful Women,” using nonchalant cadences, tambourine, electric guitar, and finger snaps. Adopting a deeper vocal sound, he sings, “It don’t matter where you go / They’re turning heads around the globe” and “New York girls in real tight suits / Taking down the man in their high heel shoes,” establishing it as an empowering anthem. We get a little more intense and personal on “Don’t Shoot,” which speaks volumes about gun control. Alexander channels the way someone’s innocence can be taken away from them in an instant, the quiet monologue of the song representing a shooting victim’s final thoughts. Over dark and dramatic piano, he expresses, “Fixate those eyes on the red exit signs” and “Hands in the air / Tears down my face,” the relevance of these lyrics cutting deep.

Overall, To Whom It May Concern, is a well-rounded, thought-out model of song and storytelling. On one hand, Alexander gets into various thoughts or actions that are more than relatable and all too common. He is able to express them so eloquently, using specific details and frank statements to better demonstrate his narrative. On the other hand, the range of styles he utilizes convey the beauty of American songwriting, whether it’s the theatrics heard on “Big Bad Apple” or the wholesome folk charm that comes through on “Green! Green! Green!” It is a remarkable listen from beginning to end, and anyone who is lucky enough to experience it will surely get caught up in all the magic.

You can listen to To Whom It May Concern, on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.

Keep up with Alexander Wren: Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // TikTok // Website


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