The world is full of unique experiences. These help us grow and the inspiration we get from them along the way helps us understand our values and what we want out of the existence we have. Collin Westerlunds’ debut album, Beautiful World is an excellent way to experience the story of what shaped him into who he is and how his heart has decided where to take him. It all starts with a track whose name is an enticing question; Do You Like Rock And Roll?
The echoes of the strings gallop on the listener as if they ride into the heavy bassline. The track then makes a flip into a sunny track with a bouncy attitude quickly afterward, establishing its sunny aesthetic. The feeling never leaves the track, making it absolutely overflowing with personality. The high-energy vibe the track gives is a perfect balance of upbeat grooves led by guitar with just the right amount of tambourine pop, while the bass groove bounces along in the background. The vocals also carry a sunny quality with a retro Swing style to them, along with a catchy chorus with some Doo-Wop inspired vocal surprises thrown in. Do You Like Rock and Roll is a great mood-setter to kick off the album.
Do You Love Me Too’s intro continues the bright, swing-inspired aesthetic from the previous track. The percussion bounces off the piano while the bass groove holds the two sides together by taking the lead of the instrumentals. The vocals are also the same style of aesthetic, packing a chorus that’s tough to not sing along to. The bass in this track is the stand-out performer and brings out all of the elements that give the track its unique personality. With a slight dash of tropical charm in the outro, Do You Love Me Too feels like the perfect compliment to the previous track and will hook you from the second you hear lines such as “Love is like a four-leaf clover, ‘leopard changes spots’ I told her.”
Beautiful World is the track that follows. The small intro leads nicely into Westerlund’s unique vocals, and when accompanied by a plodding piano, shows it off in a different light than the previous tracks. As opposed to a bright or bouncy beat, Beautiful World offers a bit more of an off-color attitude. The minimalist instrumental track only adds to the off-color qualities, but ultimately this combined with the slower pace deflates the energy of the previous tracks that led into this one. Lyrically, the song is a love letter to the sights and sounds of the world itself. Lines such as “don’t want to lose this feelin’, the rain falling down on the beautiful ground got me reelin'” and “children laughing, playing. You can see there’s love without knowing what they’re saying” clearly show and admiration for the sights and sounds around him as Westerlund recalls admiring them. Though a bit deflating when compared to the previous tracks, this one shows a different side of the album’s Swing inspiration.
Don’t Wait Too Long picks the energy right back up in this track with an intro that wastes no time in bringing the pulse back from its brief absence on Beautiful World. This track brings back the previous aesthetic in full force, with a bouncy piano that’s backed up by a dynamic vocal performance from Westerlund. His vocal range is shown off for the first time in a big way, hitting high notes as easily as they came in previous tracks while reaching deep to hit some impactful low ones. The bass and drums do a great job of propping up the vocals when they need it, especially towards the end in lines such as “don’t wait too long, for what you know today, tomorrow might be gone.” Along with a catchy outro and a beat you can swing to, Don’t Wait Too Long is a stand-out track.
After All is another stand-out track. It starts with a groovy piano track and some starry motifs to ease you into the track. The bass groove takes hold shortly after the intro, right as the vocals make an appearance and take charge of the track. This track has a much heavier doo-wop style, but at a slower pace to keep the track feeling personal. The intimate nature of the track is instantly solidified when hearing the heartfelt lyrics, with lines that instantly nail the point home in “what makes one in two? It’s knowing love is true” and “no matter what we do, you know that I love you and we know that it’s forever.” All of this makes After All one of the most memorable tracks on the album, as you can feel the heart dripping from every word Collin Westerlund sings.
Beautiful World is a sunny and heartfelt album from start to finish. While not perfect, Collin Westerlund’s debut album combines a huge heart with a Swing influence, and is full of personality while serving up a great nostalgia hit to anyone who’s fond of the sounds of the Golden Oldies. The fact the album was written and recorded in two weeks using only a reverb effect, Westerlund’s instruments and a $30 microphone is a mind-blowing piece of trivia for how good it all sounds. With a solid offering that’s packed full of emotion, Beautiful World is an album worth your time.