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Electropop Album Review: "Healed" by Alan Dreezer

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Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

"Healed"

"Healed"

Healed is an honest, emotional journey full of lush soundscapes. The feelings explored in the lyrics are given deep expression by Alan Dreezer’s strong vocal performances and the entire album is engaging and rich-sounding.

The first element of Healed that drew me in was Alan Dreezer’s voice. His singing is smooth and has range, but the reason I enjoy it so much is the sheer emotion and expression he can pour into it. He can let his voice soar or gently caress, but it is never less than deeply soulful and heartfelt. It has an honesty that matches the honesty of the lyrics.

I am also drawn to the song lyrics on the album. Alan Dreezer has laid bare his emotions in a truthful and raw way. The songs express joy, pain, loss, triumph and anger in a way that feels intense and open. It is rare to hear songs in which the songwriter is as direct and forthright as Alan Dreezer is here.

The music on Healed is luscious and sonically engaging. There’s a strong mixture of warm strings, stripped-down piano and well-constructed melodies on the album, but there are also groovy beats and funky basslines that add energy and verve. To top it off, the production values are sky-high and add clarity and depth to the music.

My Favourite Songs Analyzed

“Transition” opens with rushing traffic sounds as a string quartet moves in, carrying a resonant melody on cello and violin. I am enamoured of how the melody is full of ache and dreaming melancholy. There’s an intimacy and musical richness to the track that is a tasteful way to open the album. The double bass adds an even more mournful ache to the music while the strings all shift in a delicate interplay. It is a tiny gem of a track.

A choral line, handclaps and pulsing, jumping percussion kick off “Any Way I Can” before Alan Dreezer’s strong, emotionally expressive vocals come in. Hollow steel drum sound flashes in while a descending bass pulse shifts. I am especially attracted to the next groovy, disco-influenced segment with its pizzicato strings.

The emotive vocals carry the positive vocal melody over that funky groove. Handclaps and snaps move with the energizing bass line and Alan Dreezer’s vocals as another hit of warm strings comes in. The beat and bass bursts in a rippling line and the chorus leaps up and over the spinning disco whirl underneath it. Strings arc above the beat and it all fades to end.

This is a song about staying strong and persevering despite what life throws at us. The narrator opens by saying that even though “not every day is good” he still keeps living. He adds, “You don’t want to hear the truth” but he’ll say it anyway. He may not “get love back” but he loves anyway and keeps playing, even after losing it all.

He tells the person he’s talking to in the song that when they don’t listen, he’s “screaming anyway.” Even if they tell him he’s nothing to them, he adds that he knew anyway. He asks them to stop cheating on him or he’s leaving. He feels suffocated by lies but “I’m breathing anyway.”

A positive message pours out as he keeps reaching and says, “One day I know that I am gonna touch the sky.” In the chorus, he talks about the fact that he’s “never losing faith” and he doesn’t “give a damn whatever you say.” He intends to “do it any way I can.”

Even if the sun isn’t shining, our narrator says he’ll shine any way. He adds, “People be so cruel I’m kind to them anyway.” In spite of going out of his mind, he says he doesn’t mind anyway. There’s insistence as he says, “When I’m speaking as I find, don’t you walk away.”

Ultimately he says that no one can stop him because he’ll keep pushing back in. He concludes, “You can’t stop me no, keep losin' til I win.”

“But It Does” starts life with warm-sounding guitar that has a unique tone flowing in a popping line. Alan Dreezer’s energetic, jazzy vocal is doubled by the rippling guitar and a very funky slap bass growls into the track. Jumping percussion and a dense, flashing synth cut over the rich vocals.

I am drawn to the segment of glowing, floating synth that swirls around Alan Dreezer’s voice above the undeniable groove of the slap bass. The synth riff swirls like a brass section before the flow breaks back into the main melody, Guitar pops and shivers before the deep slap bass funkily underpins the uplifting vocal melody as the track comes to an end.

Relationships break apart but the raw emotional power sometimes isn’t so easy to break. The narrator begins as he talks to the song’s subject by saying that even though he’s not with them, they aren’t leaving his mind.

He reminds them that the “fairytales you left me for ain't what you thought they'd be” but says that doesn’t make him happy. He adds that he isn’t going to say “I told you so” because “all I ever did was love you, even when you let me go.”

The relationship has “crossed the line between love hate and blind” many times but the narrator points out “it shouldn't matter anymore but it does.” He says that he can’t forget the other person because “the closest I have known is when I was saying that it didn't matter, but it does.”

In spite of the fact that he’s moved on, he still says a word can take him back. He continues, “the pain inside has gone but my thoughts can still be black.” He adds that he’s become a better man after having lost. He adds, “Can't remember who we were then but I'm sad that it's your turn.”

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He still wonders if he should reach out to the other person and adds, “Will you reach out to me? Don't see how that could happen. Let it be. Let it be.”

An open sonic space surrounds ticking percussion and a hollow synth sound is joined by shimmering strings and deep wells of bass to begin “What You Didn’t Say.” I am touched by the expressive ache in Alan Dreezer’s vocals in this song. A throbbing beat and a lush chorus are accompanied by a piano dancing delicately through the song.

Strings swirl and grow in the background over the beat before a harp shines and flickers. Alan Dreezer’s voice is warm and emotive while a harp sparkles and moves through the music while the solid beat supports. Strings add a depth and energy to the song as the vocals fill the sonic space and rich whorls of sound rise up to intertwine as it ends.

This is a song about the emotional fallout from a bad ending to a relationship. The narrator opens by saying that when he needed to hear “I love you” and the other person had the chance to say it, they didn’t take it. He goes on to say that he needed to see the love in their eyes, he couldn’t “see a light.” He adds that when the other person looked back at him, all he saw was “pretend.” The narrator realized that they were finished.

There was a chance for them to save the relationship but the narrator points out that “there was no us to save.” He continues by saying that “what you didn't say hurt more than what you did.” The silence also made the narrator “sure that wasn’t all you hid.”

He details a painful scene when he returned, “the kids came out” but all the other person did was stand behind the door which screamed “I don’t want you” to the narrator. The narrator goes on, “I was all dressed up, looking kinda fine. All you’re seeing was ‘the same old’.” The other person has made the decision to leave him behind.

At the end of it all, there’s stark accusation as the narrator says,”Look what you did. Honesty wasn't policy. Secrecy and everything I can’t see that was you, not me.”

“You Didn’t” comes to life as a fragile piano moves lightly into the song, feeling simple and clean. I enjoy the shivering expression in Alan Dreezer’s vocals as they carry over the piano.

A soft drumbeat touches the music while the piano doubles the vocals, tinged with melancholy and loss. Full bass support rises up as the strings gently caress the intertwining vocals.

Piano trickles through and snare drums underpin the depth of the string section and the male chorus adds more emotion. There’s a lush feeling and even more expression from the tremulous strings under the vocals’ pure emotion. A driving drum pulse and dark piano chords add an additional element before silence falls.

Sometimes after suffering deep emotional pain, it seems that there’s no running away from it. The narrator needs to get away from all the reminders of the past. He feels that he’s "surrounded by liars now, everyone’s fake.” Even though he is happy for the other person, he adds “don’t let me see it I still give a damn.”

The ache of it has caused him to cross an ocean for separation. He aches as he says, “I can’t keep reliving that moment she won.” In spite of that fact, he can’t stop thinking about her. He talks about her cruelty, but adds "whatever I do leads me back to you.” He pleads to be made to forget because he still cares and she doesn’t.

He’s thinking about reaching out so he can “make the door close to all of those memories we made.” The narrator says he’ll feel better if he runs away a thousand miles. He finishes by saying, “It don’t matter what I wish, it don’t matter who’s to blame” because it can never be the same again.

Alan Dreezer’s warm, expressive voice slips over the bouncing, moving drums to open “EQUAL.” Flashes and shimmers of synth glow through over the driving beat and bright keys move through. I am drawn to the heart that Alan Dreezer shows in this song.

There’s a break full of deep bass pulse and wandering synths before the music shifts back to glowing notes under the emotive vocals. The track ends with bursting bright moments of synth with slightly fuzzy edges that lead back to the final chorus.

Recrimination and blame too often mark our interactions with people personally and in the world. This song is a plea for that to be different, but also expresses a certain frustration with the lack of change.

As the song starts, the narrator tells us, “There don’t have to be sides or winners or losers. The war is so over for all the accusers.” There is a request for the truth when he asks, “Tell me who’s been slinging mud?” after which he says, “There’s no need for loyalty when I’m flesh and blood, that has to count for something.”

The chorus asks, “Do you have to choose, do I have to lose?” Our narrator wants to know why love has to “hurt and confuse.” Ultimately he asks, “Why can’t this be equal? I just want an equal love from you.”

Flashes of frustration show through as our narrator asks, “Are you feeling abandoned?” before stating that he doesn’t care. There’s a sense of moving on in the line, “I can’t base my life on those Tuesdays we used to share.”

He then asks with a sense of weariness, “Or do you just need to feel real, happy and safe sitting on top of that fence, that precarious, scariest place?” There’s an aching feeling as he says, “Why don’t you show me you care? Please.”

“The Chase” commences with hollow bells and deep bass. Those sonic elements are joined by a rising drumbeat and jazzy guitar chords. The vocals are full of deep expression as the drums keep pulsing in a steady heartbeat. The solid, thick bass and shifting piano chords add shape and texture to the music.

I am impressed by Alan Dreezer’s range and the ability to caress the ears smoothly as he sings. Bell-like sounds are mixed with the dense bass and the throb of the drums. Gentle piano notes drift along with the lead vocals and the supporting female voice behind them. The dancing beat adds energy and direction under the bells and the the piano shivers.

The narrator talks about his connection with a damaging person who was more interested in chasing than winning the prize. He starts by saying that he wanted to be wanted and “I wanted it to be you.” He discovers to his pain that “it was a game to you, destroying people’s lives.”

He tells the other person that instead of chasing their tail or “the man in the moon” they could have had it all. Instead they preferred the chase.

He asks if they enjoyed the chase more than winning the first prize? He adds that they looked at what was in front of their eyes, not beyond which made them “shallow (and) small.” He goes on, “You’re falling off your throne to not very much at all.”

The narrator ends by saying, “Chase dreams. Chase love. Chase real. Chase great. When you stop chasing, you’re arriving.”

The piano melody has a classic jazz ballad feel as Alan Dreezer’s soulful voice doubles it to open up “Same Old You.” Percussion adds a subtle pulse and the vocals pour out into the song. The piano has depth and an equally emotional feeling.

I enjoy the simplicity of this arrangement as the piano swells up and sails along. The string section dances in, adding an accentuating texture as Alan Dreezer’s vocals tremble, ache and then soar. The whole song is so full of expression and the jazz organ adds even more depth.

This is a song about a rift between father and son. The narrator says that he will come around when “you start putting me first, choose me before anyone else, say you’re wrong to me and to yourself.” He continues to say he’ll come around when “nightmares stop waking me up” and when his son listens and doesn’t interrupt.

At the moment, he feels it might not ever happen because of the pain. He adds, “I don't do intimacy because of you.” The narrator has spent years waiting for his son to try, but even after the narrator’s father died, there was no sign of it. He was “the same old you.”

He says that when his son stops talking about himself and “acting like I must be blind” he might come around. He talks about a situation in which his son denies involvement and pretends as if no one knew and adds that his son needs to “realize I know what’s true.”

He concludes that he had the “chance to make amends the day I got married”” so he could “tell all of my friends this is my son, he makes me proud” but instead his son said nothing at all.

Conclusion

Healed is an album that takes the listener on a powerful, engaging emotional journey with a rich, fully realized musical landscape behind it. Alan Dreezer has created a very strong album here.

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