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Rating: 5/5

Favorite Tracks: Our Song, Drop in the Ocean, Believe, Wait for You Wherever You Go, TIGHTROPE

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/whatever-it-takes/id422638126

“Drop in the Ocean” has been coming on my Pandora for a few months now and while I always found myself turning it up and humming along I never decided to explore further until I heard ‘Our Song’ the other day – I figured if I liked two songs off the same album it’s probably worth checking out, right?

I questioned my own judgement after the first two tracks – “If You Were a Stone” and “You” – the beautiful, honest parts of his voice that I loved in “Drop in the Ocean” and the refreshingly simple story telling from “Our Song” were absent for me on these two – The lyrics felt unnecessarily metaphorical and forcefully ‘quirky.’ After listening through the album a handful more times (I don’t trust my opinion on songs until I listen repeatedly) I concluded that if they came on the radio I wouldn’t turn the station, just sort of unmemorable for me.

Then my old/new favorite – Our Song – the soft beginning and again, the refreshingly simple story telling convinced me to keep going on my first go round.

I immediately started gently but meaningfully head bopping along to ‘Believe’ which I always take as a good sign. The gravel in his voice that I very much disliked in the first songs came back but this time I started really getting into it, felt more genuine for whatever reason. The repeating chorus of “I swear I believe” had me feeling as if I was listening to some sort of christian band but – one that I actually wanted to listen to – which is strange for me but not altogether unheard of. Summary: I get into this one, big time.

“Drop in the Ocean” is the most popular off this album so I won’t ramble on much about it but – god, his voice on the chorus – how could you not like this song?

About half way through the first verse of “Wait for You” is when I decided, yes, I like this album and will purchase and listen to it on replay. The voice, timing, phrasing, beat, I don’t know how to put it but – it got me. Then another bout of rhythmic repeated chanting.

“Never Let You Go” – strong guitars – am I going to like this from him – not sure – first line – oh yes, yes I am enjoying this. Not sure if this is a good or bad sign for my relationship with Pope’s music but – I found myself wishing that Harry Styles had a guest appearance on the verses (if you don’t appreciate their Midnight Memories album you will not understand this comment and that’s ok I suppose, just move on.)

Tiny little instrumental tracks in albums instantly warm my heart, just gives me an instant notion that the artist thought about the collective sound and play through of the album, so thank you, Pope, for “Fast Asleep”.

At this point I am becoming aware that I am slowly falling in love, and I hear him moan out “daylight,” and then I know for sure.

“Home Again” to me feels out of place. Leading up to it I am in that place where I stick both earbuds in and hold them firmly into my ears with my eyes closed and an entire body rock – this song kind of shook me out of my euphoric trance. By the end of the it I was thinking – yeah, this is ok, but would have liked it somewhere else in the album.

With the first notes of “tightrope”, both of my earbuds are back in and I’m falling fast. As the first chorus hits, my eyes are closed, and I can’t get the phrase “when last I saw your mouth” out of my head. I can still hear it. And will continue to hear it.”It doesn’t matter at all” so effortlessly floats out of his mouth and into my ear. Absolutely, 100% my favorite track off of this album.

“Whatever it Takes” – I really can’t make any poignant comments because I am always so destroyed by the previous track that I’m just not in the right state of mind. I would like to hear this placed before “Tightrope,” that way I could truly appreciate it, plus I just really want to end completely wrecked (much like after The 1975’s ‘Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You?’)

*Since this is my first album post I will just say that The 1975’s album is so ingrained into my being everything else will always be compared yet never compare.*

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