Anderson East has become a much-loved and appreciated figure in Americana. His music transcends genres, combining elements of Country, Soul and R&B. Though he hasn’t garnered huge amounts of radio success, he’s found a faithful fan base that have connected with his authentic songwriting, and now he’s back with his third studio album, Maybe We Never Die.
The album is more heavily influenced by soul than some of East’s previous work, but still touches on elements of country and folk. Listeners can expect a typically polished production, done by East himself, alongside Dave Cobb.
The title track, ‘Maybe We Never Die’, opens the album and is a hopeful reminder that the emotional moments we make in life continue after death. It’s a stark opener that feels serious yet light-hearted, and sets the glossy-70s feel that follows.
‘Madelyn’ is another song that sets the tone for the collection. Textured production showcases the power in East’s voice and lets its sultry qualities shine through.
There’s lot of disco-infused moments too, particularly on the song ‘Drugs’. The lyrics metaphorically explain how everyone has their own unique obsessions in life:
“Everybody’s on drugs
‘Cause the world behind our eyes is better in disguise
So we try to keep the feelings numb
Everybody’s on drugs”
It’s an interesting and melancholic take on the world, but it doesn’t feel preachy – instead, an intricate observation of modern life.
There are plenty of inward-facing songs on the album too. ‘Like Nothing Ever Happened’ is incredibly vulnerable. East tells a stark tale of a doomed relationship, and the pain that comes at the end of it.
‘If You Really Love Me’ follows a similar narrative:
“Don’t call me
‘Cause I’ll pick up the phone
Don’t want me
When you’re all alone
Don’t think about the good time”
It’s an emotion that will be universal to many, and the combination of East’s beautiful vocal and a choir or strings make it one of the most appealing songs on the album.
However, the album ends on a high. ‘Just You & I’ is a song about love at the end of the world. It’s a juxtaposed funky song about the world ending, and it’s a great dance number that really helps to bring some positivity back into the project.
Overall, this is such a dynamic album that showcases East’s many facets and influences. The seamless combination of genres makes this one of the most interesting albums so far year.