Alexander 23 is an artist that holds no bars when it comes to confessional songwriting.
The Chicago-born artist has had a busy few years, reeling from the success of his 2019 EP ‘I’m Sorry, I Love You’, which featured viral single ‘IDK You Yet’ – a tune that was streamed by the billions on platforms such as TikTok.
Credited for his songwriting and producing, Alexander 23, born Alexander Glantz, also received a Grammy nomination for co-producing Olivia Rodrigo’s 2021 essential record ‘Sour’.
Somehow, through the commotion that comes with having a viral hit, co-producing a number one album and touring alongside John Mayer, Glantz has managed to squeeze in an album of his own. His debut, Aftershock.
The record opens with a simple acoustic guitar chord for the intro of ‘Hate Me If It Helps’. Glantz’s honesty expressed through his lyricism is instantly demonstrated; “I wonder if your therapist likes me, I guess it depends on how much of the truth you tell to her” he sings in the first bar. Profoundly honest lyrics such as these speak to Glantz’s artistry, writing lyrics that seem as though they have been stripped straight out of a diary.
This clever, albeit very personal, songwriting is heard on all 11 tracks. Second track and recent single ‘Crash’ is another melancholic yet upbeat breakup song that tells a story that may ring true for those listening – an experience of missing someone yet not missing a car-crash of a relationship. This unearthing of emotions is once again heard in the third track and June released single, ‘Somebody’s Nobody’.
Stylistically, the album feels experimental. Traditional instrumentation is present, with guitars both electric and acoustic at the forefront of most of the album – yet often intertwined with synths and digital soundbites.
Fifth track ‘Fall 2017 (What If)’ is wistful and pensive in tone, giving off a similar energy to that of the Beatles ‘Blackbird’, but then bleeds into a blend of piano and sonic drumbeats as Glantz asks himself; “what if nobody loves me again?”
Seventh track ‘Cosplay’ is an alt-rock fantasy, somehow maintaining a gentle energy whilst still sounding loud and vivacious. Again, Glantz’s lyricism can’t be ignored as he ponders over the concept of two partners trying to emulate each other’s ex-relationships.
The album draws to a pensive close with tearjerker ‘RIP You and Me’. Stripped back piano is complimented by Glantz’s vocal and deeply personal storytelling. He sings as if he’s broken, but there’s a sense of hope manifested in the music.
‘Aftershock’ may just be the perfect break-up album, with moments of joy and melancholy that resonate in the music, and lyricism that will undoubtedly cut deep for many listeners.
Words: Isabella Miller