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Album Review: Rad Stacey – Shhh… Tell ‘Em All (2020)

The Arizona band, RAD STACEY, genre bends with their high-energy songs that elicit a hard rock feel with a Pop Punk tint. Rad Stacey’s music engages audiences with fat guitar licks and catchy beats that mix well with their energetic and honest lyrics. The band started in 2019 with a menagerie of musicians that have worked together in the scene for years. With heavy influences from punk, hardcore, pop, and hip-hop, Rad Stacey hasn’t planted their feet in any genre. Rad Stacey released their inaugural EP, “Shhh…Tell ‘Em All” in 2020.

This EP is an expansive, uplifting collection of tracks that takes shape with its signature crunchy guitar riffs and high-energy beats. Melodic leads and hook-laden vocals are the driving force behind the songs. The powerful and honest lyrics promote putting yourself out there and answering life’s call to live. The message in each track serves as a much-needed wake-up call as life begins to return to normal across the United States. With the release of “Shhh… Tell ‘Em All”, Rad Stacey establishes themselves as a promising new voice in the world of rock. Rad Stacey’s music engages audiences with the catchiness of pop-punk, like Blink 182 and The Story So Far, mixed with the energy and honesty of Falling in Reverse and MGK.

Band Philosophy

Rad Stacey explores the vulnerability of life. “Death Noir” explores Ian’s personal recovery from drugs and alcohol. “Not Today” is about “Me time.”

Ian shares, “I drive you home, or tuck you in, and all this time I give to everyone else – now I need that “me time” to take care of myself.

“People need to hear songs that have relatable humanity to them. You can be as weird as you want, but we can still all have a good time. The soul of Rad Stacey is getting people to enjoy life.” – Ian Hunthausen

“A lot of what I write about is that you have to believe in yourself. I write for the kid with the hoodie pulled over his head in the back of the class who thinks no one sees him.” – Ian Hunthausen

Shhh…Tell ‘Em All Tracklist

1. Let’s Go

2. Burn

3. Not Today

4. Death Noir

5. Push

6. What We Miss

7. Swim

Shhh…Tell ‘Em All Reviews:

1. Let’s Go (3:32)

Let’s Go is the opening track of Shhh…Tell ‘Em All.

The song starts with a bang with an uplifting and energetic guitar riff. This guitar riff is accompanied by distorted guitar chords and a minimalistic drum groove, which creates a pleasant atmosphere. The intro leaves its place in the verse where there is a palm-muted guitar riff, which is similar to grunge or thrash metal riffs. However, the heavy guitar riff is contrasted by the direct and strong vocals, which give the song more of a pop-punk vibe. In the verse, the vocals and the crunchy guitar almost take turns and contrast each other, which puts greater emphasis on the lyrics. The first verse’s lyrics are very motivating and full of life:

“I know it’s so hard

To find all the answers that you want

But life’s calling right now

So come on let’s take the world by storm”

The lyrics promote putting yourself on the front lines of your life and taking the reigns of your life yourself. After the verse, the riff that initial verse riff comes again, and we move on to the chorus. The chorus is almost telling the listener to buckle up and face what they want in life. The lead guitar melody that lies underneath the chorus is a great addition and it accentuates the vocals and the song’s uplifting atmosphere.

“Here we go hold on tight
These are the reigns so take your life”

At the 2:10 minute mark, the song takes a very interesting turn and a breakdown takes place. A heavy guitar riff accompanied by a slow but punchy drum groove kicks in to create almost a metalcore atmosphere. This breakdown is the emotionally lowest point in the song for the listener. Nevertheless, the uplifting and motivational feel of the song returns when the chorus comes in. The song comes to a sweet spot with the last verse where the vocal performance gets the blood flowing in the listener’s veins:

“Here we go hold on tight
These are the days that make our lives so sweet indeed
Sweet indeed, oh
You light some fires
You’ll be inspired now
One more time let’s go”

The song ends with multiple drum fills and the initial guitar riff. Overall, Let’s Go is a very motivational and fun song that everyone who likes rock and punk either soft or hard can enjoy. The song is especially relevant in the time of returning to normal life and trying to take control of your life after the first hit of the pandemic.

2. Burn (2:43)

“Burn” begins with an equally energetic feel with “Let’s Go”. The drums make the intro a strong one with a lot of fills and cymbals. The first verse comes fast and the lyrics go:

“I feel it burnin’ like a fire
I know it’s gettin’ hotter and higher
Sometimes it gets so hard to breath
I want it I need it”

The instrumentation and the composition of the song really feel as if you are rushing or even burning. The song is fast-paced and this conveys the feeling of the lyrics quite well. After the verse, comes the chorus. The chorus has a guitar riff that fits perfectly with the catchy vocal lines to elongate the burning sensation that this song delivers.

“I’ve got this burning desire
Hotter than a funeral pyre, hey
I know what its like alone
I don’t want to be”

At the 1 minute 14 second mark, the mood of the songs transforms into mellow and reverbing clean guitars and spacey distorted guitars come in to contrast the fast-paced intro. This breakdown leads the listener to the second chorus. After that, the last verse comes in with the breakdown guitars and palm-muted distorted guitars.

“Ooh baby, you’re settin’ my whole world ablaze
I’m siftin’ through the ashes, I never felt this way
Ooh darlin’, let’s go set the world ablaze
I can be your matches
You are my kerosene”

Overall, “Burn” is a nice blend of pop and punk with mellow and distorted sections blending in very well together.

3. Not Today (3:10)

The third song of the album, “Not Today”, begins with a powerful and moving guitar riff. This riff is then accompanied by drums and a backing guitar to move the listener to the verse. Despite the heavy and distorted intro to the song, the verse has more of a bittersweet feeling. The vocals are straightforward and the lyrics are delivered in a dialogue-like manner. The guitar in the verse is played by all downstrokes, which mixed with the vocals gives the verse a nice flow. The verse builds up to leave its way to the more energetic chorus. The chorus makes the song’s theme clear:

“I’ll be there for you, just not today! This one’s for me”

The song underlines that even though you can be sharing and caring, “me time” is very important for oneself. The vocals shout “HEY” in the chorus, which gives the part a very anthem-like atmosphere. The fast-paced chorus winds down to leave the way for the second verse. The second verse has a calmer vibe than the first verse. The vocal harmonies behind the lead vocal greatly accentuate this feeling. The peaceful atmosphere is quickly contrasted with the second but shorter chorus. At the 2 minute 19 second mark, a melodic guitar solo enters with drums playing a lot of cymbals and fills to breakdown the song. The song comes to an end with a pandemonium. The initial verse riff combined with roaring vocals. Finally, the song underlines its theme for “me time” by ending with the line “not today” after the end, which is a nice fun touch to the sound.

4. Death Noir (4:18)

After a distorted guitar intro, the listener is swiftly thrown into the dark atmosphere of “Death Noir”. Detailing a consuming and restricting relationship to make an allegory for drugs, the song uses dynamic guitar chords and bass heavy drums to immerse us into a struggle with addiction. The lyrics profoundly describe how restricting, demanding and recurring the process is, with suitable vocals and guitar tone to go with it. The chorus repeats “confine me/ revive me / confine me/ remind me” as if the song goes through a loop of relapse and regret over and over. The melodies are kept simple yet catchy until halfway through. An instrumental section sets the “noir” stage once again, and despair-filled guitar solos keep the listener hooked until we reach the chugging guitar.

The need for escape is especially evident through these last parts. It’s almost as if the instrumental heaviness reflects how drained the speaker is, and the recurring lyrics “I gave you all of me yet still you wanted more” are sung with a voice that reflects anger and regret. As observed from the outro where riffs and vocals come together to end the song with a punch, the potent lyrics and message of this song is complemented with fitting melodies to make a good listen.

5. Push (2:51)

Fun, motivating, and nostalgically reminiscent of the likes of blink-182, “Push” overflows with explosive punkish energy. The unrelenting kick and snare has the right amount of “punchy”, and upbeat guitar gives the song an energizing twist.

“I need a push to wipe the fear off my face

No time to settle in life

I’ve got pain but no common sense you see

So kick my ass and get me in line!”

A fun intro, strong verses and effective chorus combine to make a song just as impressive as, but a lot more positive than “Death Noir”. It’s an embrace of life, the past and present, and a violent attempt to fit in and keep up with the flow of time. It rapidly pushes through life with a motivating anthem that approaches an erupting breakdown past the two minute mark.

“Push! / Time is wasting…”

Vocal melodies and chords slowly build up and maintain their charm until the very end, and the song ends with the word “push”.

6. What We Miss (3:00)

“What We Miss” welcomes us with a warm acoustic guitar intro and chill percussions as it reflects on the good old days. It declares “We miss what we miss to forget where we are”, and continues it’s reflections on nostalgia and life with sweet acoustic guitar melodies. It maintains its laid-back and somewhat tropical vibes with a hint of harsher rock. This part alone make it a worthy listen, but it gets even better and seperates itself from generic soft rock. Past the 2 minute mark, electric guitars and drums kick in and layers of harmony and lead and rhythm guitar crowns the song with a great ending. The song feels original and professional, and surely stands out.

7. Swim (2:04)

“Swim” starts off with an electric guitar chord and a lively melody. It gets straight to the verses in which a loss-induced breakdown is described with immense emotion. Fuzzy guitar and constant drumming takes the listener through the mind of a man that’s close to ending it all after an unexpected death. The song’s fast pace, anguish and bewilderment is so intense that it initially sounds enthusiastic and energetic if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics

“When I lost you, I lost myself

I know it’s true, I know what I’m thinking

Go down with the ship, it’s sinking”

After 1:20, a small drum solo sees the vocals and guitar fill up with despair. This breakdown is accompanied by a change in tempo and the closing lines “I heard your voice inside /It said to ‘Hold your breath and let’s go swimming’”. The short yet powerful song thus comes to a halt with ominous lyrics and implications that’ll be left unsaid.

Conclusion

Rad Stacey displays notable musical and lyrical talent in their album “ Shhh Tell ‘Em All”. Each song is meaningful and quite enjoyable, and has set a great precedent for the band’s future work.

Check out the band’s website and listen to the songs yourself, let us know what you think! https://radstaceymusic.com/

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