From the everyday outsider’s perspective, the music industry seems like a relatively easy thing to break into. After all, most assume all it takes is some original music that’s catchy, memorable and strikes the right chord with a group of people and from there, the sky is the limit. In reality, the music industry is an extremely fickle beast and one that takes its toll on a fair share of people. Whether it’s the time commitment to truly breaking out, the constant shift or desire to create a new sound or the unfortunate loss of the spark and excitement that once existed, many artists fade out just as a new group enters. After spending a vast majority of his career in the extremely popular and renowned Chiodos, the band came to the penultimate decision of calling it a day. However, as one chapter closes, another one begins, which is what Craig Owens new project badXchannels is all about. The alternative pop / R&B stylized project is a result of his past experiences, current on-goings as a music producer and an overall fresh take for him as an artist to express his inner creativity.
The most immediate impact that WHYDFML will have on listeners is in the vastly different style and sound compared to Craig’s previous outings. In place of the hard-hitting instrumentals, riffs and screams is a core sound built on sultry, vibe-y, effect driven beats and thumping basslines with smooth and crooning R&B stylized vocals. Even with a core sound in place, WHYDFML presents a unique sound from track to track, which is a doubled edged sword in a sense as one side offers a varied approach that differs from song to song while the other results in a loss of overall flow and cohesion, as some songs feel jarring compared to others. This is noticeable with the opening track “One Car Funeral” and the stylistic switches from a simple pop beat that switches into a near-trap banger, going back and forth as the verse-chorus structure follows suit. Marching on, other songs contain different styles like “You Know I Will” and its R&B flow with a rap feature from Jon Connor or the pop driven “Complicated” featuring Tyler Carter, who Craig matches up extremely well with. With such a variety of styles compiled together into one release, the end result is surely going to be a mixed bag with many people.
When it comes down to it, this project fits the mold of the new, modern day artist, many of which continue to have a desire to evolve and progress as musicians in different ways. Even though this veers further out into different territory compared to his previous outings, long-time fans shouldn’t be all that surprise by the approach and sound badXchannels composes. At the same time, new fans that stumble across WHYDFML will be joining the beginning of something that has great potential, even if it’s full of the typical stories alternative music tends to tell. With a more fleshed out vision and stronger cohesion between tracks allowing the flow to feel less jarring, badXchannels next outing could be something great, or day we say, special.
The Gist | EP Review: badXchannels – WHYDFML
With a more fleshed out vision and stronger cohesion between tracks allowing the flow to feel less jarring, badXchannels next outing could be something great, or day we say, special.