Social media networks have been a great start for the careers of certain artists such as Jeffree Star, Simon Curtis, and even Lady Gaga. Brandon Hilton, an independent musician without a record label, can now be added to that group of people. He has been releasing music for more than a year, releases that include his latest full length album entitled Nocturnal. The new album, which was available for purchase through iTunes on June 13th, is a project made up predominately of pop and electronic fused tracks that show the creativity that one artist can have. Preceded by buzz singles, “Glamour Zombie” and “Obsession”, the album is a new sound that has its ups and downs.
Not taking the intros into account, the album kicks off with “Glamour Zombie”, a track that was released last year as the first taste of this upcoming effort. The song is slightly addicting even if it has some ridiculous lines about cotton candy included, but that is what makes it different and unique. The accompanying beat is extremely infectious and I cannot help but sing along, has to be one of the best tracks from the album. “Need Your Love” is a pulsating dance track that hits mark in certain ways. I like how the song flows and progresses, the beat goes well with the lyrics, and the vocals are decent. I do dislike the spelling of the word “love”, but that seems to be the only real problem I have with the song. The track is nothing groundbreaking, but it does its job well. The track “Obsession” gives details of a crush gone a little too far as the artist sings about how his life revolves around the one he loves. Some pieces of the track do work, but the vocals get overpowered by a decent beat. The song never really lifts off the ground even though some lyrics are impressive evidence to songwriting talent that has not been fully tapped into just yet. Deception and lies are discussed on “Heartbreaker”, a song that surpassed my exceptions in every way. The vocals are nice while the chorus just brings every component together to create a great song that had my attention from the very beginning. Some of the words are lost at points throughout, a production problem, but the track works and should be classified as a pop song with angst thrown into the mix. The listener is taken on a trip through the universe with “Spaceman”. The track is set to a slower pace than most of the songs on the track list with a few sexual references added for flavor. The song is okay, but okay does not really cut it. There just is not any depth to the song and just does nothing exciting for the album. The change of pace is nice, but that’s about it. The title track, “Nocturnal”, carries a very dark and sinister vibe even though some of the lyrics have messages of love and empowerment. I feel like there is not much to the song itself, it seems to short without much meat. I do enjoy certain aspects of the song, but the constant repeating of the title and the talking throughout did not sit too well with me. Great message, but it just did not come together. Hilton uses some robotic vocals in order to make his way through his song of encouragement, “Out On Top”. I commend the song for the writing talent that is showcased, some of the best on the entire album, but the track sadly falls a bit flat. The concept and meaning behind the word is great, but I wish the artist would have confidence in his own voice, no alterations are needed. After a creepy, low intro, the beat and tempo are turned up for “Heartbeat”, a track seems like a confession of love directly from the artist to another. The song does repeat itself too much to the point where the song is almost useless, but then Hilton busts into a small rap like segment that I did enjoy. The song is not a favorite of mine; it falls in the middle of the pack, decent but nothing special. “Shadow”, the shortest track off the album, is a song that follows in the same footsteps of its predecessors, but done better. Hilton still delivers this performance in the robotic voice that has plagued the rest of the project, but he gives moments of emotion and range that are nice to hear. The song is good, contains a catchy beat and is one that I would that I would want to hear again. The official track list ends with “2Nite”, a song that would fit in perfectly with a club DJ’s playlist. The track actually makes me want to get up a dance, it uses the genres of electronic and dance in the right ways and I can see many remixes of the song done in the near future. A faster beat would have helped more, but it is fine just the way it is. The album does feature two bonus tracks when purchased on iTunes, the first being the sexualized “So Ready”. The song was my second taste of the album and I was hooked to it with only one listen. I give the song praise because the artist’s vocals are the best they have ever sounded while the actual song is an over the top, seductive piece about pleasure and sex, my kind of music. I just wish that the track would not have been just a bonus track because it is my favorite thing off the effort. The album finishes up with “Photoshop Friendship”, a track that relies heavily on production and bass. The artist does not care for the imperfections of a relationship; he wants something real, nothing fake. The flow of the song causes me to dismiss the entire thing, it was not the track that I wanted to hear at the end, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Nocturnal is an album released independently by an artist that is trying to experiment with a sound not heard on mainstream radio today. Brandon Hilton has created a project that dips its feet into the world of electronic and pop with some bright moments and, unfortunately, some noticeable stumbles throughout. The songwriting abilities on some songs are evidence of immense talent, but I feel the vocals need a bit more time to develop. The album is fun, it tries to be something new and unique, which I commend, and I just feel that more time was needed in its creation. The album as a whole receives a 75%.
Tracks to Hear: “Glamour Zombie”, “Heartbreaker”, and “So Ready”
06 - Glamour Zombie - Brandon Hilton