Album: “Wake Me When I’m Famous!”
There are few things more beautiful than seeing a phoenix reborn from its ashes. This reincarnation introduces the innocence, fragileness and naivety of the creature. It signals the start of something new and gives it a chance to make a difference in the world. While these are mythical creatures, they are the perfect example of how great a change can be. When Beaumont, TX’s Atlas decided to change their name from Neil to Aldrin, naturally, there was a lot of skepticism. This name change was far from the beginning, though. I followed the band for quite awhile before this change and I will be the first to tell you that they were incredibly impressive as they were. But when they rebirthed themselves into Atlas, the unexpected happened: They managed to get better. It seems as though they took the music a bit more seriously. They had something to prove and I am proud to say they are primed and ready to take over the world, one stage at a time. Their debut album, “Wake Me When I’m Famous!” has not left repeat on my iPod since the band sent it to me. It’s one of the most emotional, heartfelt pieces of art that I’ve been privy to so far this year. Vocalist Jay Espinoza decided to wear his heart on his sleeve and find a way to connect with his fans on an emotional level. This album is a testament that just because you may feel broken, you can be fixed. You don’t have to feel the need to impress anyone and you should always remain true to yourself.
The album opens up with “Atlas”, this track sets the tone for the emotional rollercoaster that you are about to endure. Espinoza screams “I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders, my vices have become dependencies. I’ve spent a thousand nights, not giving a fuck if I live or die!” Have you ever felt like people were expecting too much from you? Like the weight of the world is crashing down on you and you turn to some outside source to help you cope? What happens when you become dependent on these? What happens when your vice… becomes your addiction? This is the first subject that the album tackles. “Atlas” is a track about the struggles you face when you’re under an addiction. You constantly need to feel that feeling… of not feeling anything at all. It shapes you, molds you into something that you never wanted to become. “I see the devil when I look in the mirror, I’ve become his favorite flame. Lifeless infection with unholy intentions, it’s safe to say I’ve grown too fond of this game.” This particular line tackles the feeling you get when you realize how much you’ve changed. You realize it’s time to figure out a way to destroy the demon you’ve become. No matter what you’re going through, know there are always people out there who wish to help you. You should lean on them always but, especially in times like these.
One of my favorite tracks on the album, and has remained so since the band released the demo, is “Codeine Eyes”. You’d think that, given the title, it’s another track tackling addiction, correct? Well, in a way, you could be right. This track actually tackles the subject of what it’s like to have someone look down on you for being yourself. Have you ever heard “You’re too childish, you’ll never make it, give up” or anything of that nature? Of course you have! We all have… but this track invites those who would say these things to step into your shoes and “see the world through my eyes before you set your expectations for me”. Your only goal in life should be to do what you love, live life to the fullest and make sure you leave behind a great legacy. It also tackles the subject of religious hypocrisy. I’ve been there… sadly. Religion teaches us to love one another, regardless of any faults the world may feel that we have, correct? So why is it that these “religious” people are the first to look down on you for the smallest things? “Save your breath, you’re better off preaching to the unaltered. I am a product of the faith you swore would never falter, and the liberation of a restless soul.” You can obviously tell that vocalist, Jay Espinoza, and I see eye to eye on our views of religion. “You might say I take the easy way out, choosing not to feel anything at all” is where we pick back up on the subject of addiction.
Another of my favorite songs, originally released as Neil to Aldrin, is “A Song for the Broken”. It tackles the subject that the title suggests: feeling lost, broken and like no one is there to help you through. This song teaches you to never stop reaching for your dreams, work as hard as you possibly can and prove the would-be doubters wrong. One of my dreams used to be to sing… and have my voice heard the worldover. While I still hold that dream dear to me, I believe that I have found my calling in music journalism. I may not be the best but I am truthful and I write my reviews with an unbiased opinion, despite any love or hate I may have for a band. I support and respect Atlas to the ends of the earth and back but, if I felt any part of this album was lacking, I would let you know because if I were in your shoes as a reader, I would not want to be surprised by sub-par music. That being said, “Wake Me When I’m Famous!” will definitely be a top contender in my year-end blowout. I feel it in strongly in my heart and I believe that every one of you out there who read this will enjoy it as well.
The final track I want to talk about is the heart-wrenching, angst-ridden “There’s No Good In Goodbye”, the final track on the album. This track tackles one of the worse feelings in the world: How it feels to be truly alone. It’s about waking up one day and realizing all that your actions have put the ones closest to you through. It’s about realizing that there are people out there who love you, who always want to help you and who have been there all along. This track also tackles the subject of feeling like you’re on the verge of death… the light, feeling the angels calling you home, then letting go because you still have a purpose in this world. No matter how alone you feel, you’re never truly alone. Even if you don’t see it, there is always someone there who is willing and able to help you through your struggles. I’ve cried many a time listening to this track. I also believe it touches on the subject of true love but I may be reading into it a bit too much.
Instrumentally: This album blends electronics, elements of post-hardcore, metalcore, djent, hard rock, 80’s metal and more. It has a little bit of everything from the rock and metal genres/sub-genres. There is a lot to say about Jay and guitarist Josh Herron’s production alone but production is nothing without the talent backing it up. What they did was amplify the massive amount of talent that each individual band member has and make it truly shine throughout every bit of the album. You get your flashy shred-fests, your breakdowns, your blast beats (at points) and so much more. There is something epic about the instrumentals that you just have to see to believe.
If you feel lost, broken or beat up in any way.. you can find comfort that this album will be your light in the dark, no matter how grim the future may seem to you. If you’re rooting for the underdog, you’re doing it right! “Wake Me When I’m Famous!” is a testament that even small-town bands can do major label things! When this band takes the stage near you, you don’t want to miss it because these boys have a message to spread and a point to prove! Be sure to check out the album trailer below and pre-order the album at the link provided!
“Wake Me When I’m Famous!” (Official Album Trailer)
Pre-order “Wake Me When I’m Famous!”