CRUSH – 'FROM MIDNIGHT TO SUNRISE'
1. From Midnight To Sunrise
2. Wake Up (Feat. DEAN)
3. Wonderlust (Feat. Band Wonderlust)
4. With You *Title
5. Alone *Title
6. Tiki-Taka (Feat. DPR LIVE)
11. Sleep No More
12. Nighty Night (Feat. Zion.T)
Not content with just a single, Crush has released his first full album with 12 new tracks, 'From Midnight To Sunrise.' This isn't his first release with P Nation, but it is his first LP with that label. His previous release was a full album under Amoeba Culture. The current album features a host of guest stars such as Zion.T, DPR LIVE, and DEAN.
"From Midnight To Sunrise" is an instrumental/intro track, and is among the longest I've heard. It's largely just jazz, with the brush percussion, horns, and pianos you'd expect from a piece like this. It's pretty good, but I'm not sure if it's supposed to set a mood for the album or stand on its own. "Wake Up" features guest artist DEAN, who's made a name for himself as an R&B singer. And this song pretty well cements that idea. Crush starts out the track, and then when it settles into more of a jazz tune with a piano as accompaniment, that's when DEAN comes in with his studied falsetto. It's about as calming as the first track, and probably what they're going for. On "Wonderlust," Crush does his best Donald Fagen impression, cranking out an instrumental pop-jazz tune that wouldn't be out of place on the adult contemporary charts. It's largely inoffensive, the repeated refrain distorted and buried by autotune. The title is a theme he's returned to again and again, with "Wanderlost" and "Stevie Wonderlust." This would be a great companion piece to those tunes, making it the final part in an unofficial "trilogy."
"With You" is where we finally get Crush alone, and it's also where he croons over a jazzy/R&B backing track. This is really his element, so he handles it with style. His opening salvo when he moved to P Nation was a departure for him, so here he moves back into his comfort zone. "Alone" is one of the title tracks. Another slow piece, but quite different from the others on this LP. This tune is a true ballad, pensive and emotional all at once. It's probably about as emotional as we've heard him get on this album, and like on "With You," he kills it here. He amps up the tempo on "Tiki-Taka," creating a more jaunty and lively R&B experience. The added percussion and upbeat tone helps this one pop even more. Not to mention DPR LIVE's rapping, which is the first time we've heard any of that. Probably one of my favorite songs on here. If I thought the last track was different, I hadn't heard anything yet. He runs away from R&B, creating a more indie-folk-singer-songwriter tune on "Sunset." And I wasn't prepared for where it goes about two minutes in, as it gets more involved with jangly guitars and a much more forceful beat, before ending much as it began.
On "Butterfly", he crafts an R&B soundscape for him to croon over. It's mostly jazz and his voice gets rougher and more raw on this one. It's a mid-tempo tune and while there are no surprises, it's still not bad. "Ibiza" is more of a straightforward pop tune. While there's some of that jazzy style, it veers off into rap and really sounds like what you'd expect from another band. It's also what I've come to expect from a tune called "Ibiza," It might sound prosaic, but on this album, it's a breath of fresh air. And then you have "Cloth," a soft R&B tune that showcases the singer's voice. It's all falsetto here, tender and expressive. It's impressive how he manages that through the entire tune. "Sleep No More" is a soft pop tune, with some unique aspects. For one, there's a staccato effect in the backing track. Points at which the music just stops, even if he doesn't. The guitar strums also sound distorted and out of tune. The net effect is ominous. Taken with the title, you get creepshow city. The final track here is "Nighty Night." It starts out lullaby-like, but not even a minute in it gets a beat and shifts up to mid-tempo. It also becomes a more playful song, done to a jazzy piano riff. It's fairly pleasant, if not exactly a lullaby.
So it seems that Crush made the album he wanted to make. Kudos for sticking to his guns, even if there are few new tricks on here. He could go EDM, but he decided to play the music he wanted to hear. And it works. It may not be my style, but I can appreciate when artists have done well, and Crush kills it here.
The MV for "With You" shows a day in the life of several sets of couples. At first, Crush is arguing with a girl, and she just pushes past him. Then it goes to restaurant scenes, bus scenes, etc, showing different couples and how they interact separately and alone.
It's pretty effective, this look into the lives of other couples. They employ an interesting technique; some scenes are played forwards, and others backward. The reverse part is telling, from the tears that stream down their faces to the expressions of grief. It's quite well-acted, despite we can't hear what they're saying, their body language tells us everything we need to know.
The final scene is impactful, as Crush is with the girl he broke up with at the beginning, and she cuddles with him in bed. He sits up, awake, and isn't happy at all.
What just happened? I can't say for certain. But what I can tell is that I enjoyed watching this one a lot.
Everything about the MV for "Alone" is meant to suggest solitude. From him singing alone, to playing the piano, to the closeups of his fingers tickling the ivories. Each activity he does, he's alone, even the backgrounds are dark. It's not foreboding, just a bit melancholy. It matches the tune, however. There's no one else around.
Well, until about 1:50. Am I a bad boy for pointing out at this point he's not really alone? An entire string section appears behind him. Still, they're shrouded in darkness, as if they're not really there. It's an interesting effect, very noir.
It's filmed in living black and white, which just adds to that whole feeling of being isolated. And the sets are high contrast, too, either black or white. You almost get the feeling that his grayscale look is an anomaly.
Eventually, as the MV progresses, the string section surrounds him. And even with the entire string section with him, they still position him as a solitary figure. I like the fact that sometimes they're shrouded in shadow, other times stark against the white background.
The tight sequences and interesting reveals make this MV worth watching.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0