AWOLNATION Releases Second Album

By: Jacob Darcy, Spring Reporter

After breaking out with their out-of-nowhere hit “Sail” in 2011, AWOLNATION is back with another album Run, which was released on March 17, 2015.

At first glance, the 14-song sophomore album from Aaron Bruno’s creative mind sounds like an exercise in variety. Each song sounds uniquely different and draw from many different genres, while still remain uniform with inclusion of Bruno’s signature shout-singing and dark electronic instrumentals. This is most obvious in the first three tracks on the album, Run, Fat Face, and Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf). Someone listening with no background knowledge of AWOLNATION will at first hear a slow trance song that slowly builds faster and faster as the song goes on, followed by a slow ballad, topped off with a much faster paced song in Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf), which is almost reminiscent of AWOLNATION’s first album, Megalithic Symphony.

Run‘s three singles, Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf), Windows, and the self-titled Run are the three catchiest songs off the album, using very pop-like hooks and a song structure found commonly in top-40 hits, especially in the former two, something which was done in their 2011 hit Sail. While these three songs may seem light of heart and happy at first listen, the themes tackled are much darker, for example Bruno chants over Run,  “I am a human being/capable of doing terrible things,” and while they may not be the best lyrics written ever, every single’s contrast of lyrics and general sound greatly contribute to the overall quality of each song.

Yet almost with ease, Run is able to be uplifting in the most suprising of ways, with songs with light and pure melodies such as Headrest for My Soulor Fat Face. Also accomplishing this is the album’s sixth track, I Am, with an angelic chorus that sounds like a complete contrast to other songs on the album, which is a nice change of pace. However, this comes at a price. One of the biggest drawbacks of the album is the gigantic vocal range that Bruno has. Huge contrasts are not always a bad thing, however Run incorporates almost too many. With each song it almost seems like Bruno was confused on whether to speak in soft angelic tones or to shout and occasionally both can happen in the same song, as seen in Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf). Certain songs can accomplish this, notably Windows or Fat Face, which both are able to incorporate Bruno’s shout-singing and soft harmonies in the same song, keeping it interesting from beginning to end.

Run is incredibly diverse: it’s a combination of dark electronic beats and Bruno’s off-putting singing. It wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to put Run into your “Songs the rest of your family would hate” folder. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a cross-country trip through a diverse and entertaining adventure of an album, Run is a perfect idea.