With my excitement completely peaked after my music review of RAC’s Strangers (Part 1), let’s dive right into Part 2 and see how it holds up.
“Sixteen” and “Seventeen (feat. Pink Feathers)” are companion tracks to start off the experience. “Sixteen” is a barely one-minute long bridge into the following track with a Spanish-style guitar playing notes like raindrops against a window in my head. If your music player is on random and this drops in, it’s bound to sound like a very harsh and abrupt ending without the natural progression into “Seventeen”. This following track takes the tempo up and fills the room with sonic bubbles, helped out by what sounds like a synth xylophone. The chorus plays like a hoppy march to empowerment and growing up. The message comes through as there is always time to chase your own dreams instead of those handed to you.
“Repeating Motion (feat. Karl Kling)” is the only track to have one of the original members of the RAC collective. It’s reminiscent of Postal Service with its sonically tickling synth line and introspective tone, although slightly deeper vocals. It explores the coward spiral of landing in the rut of life and crystallizes with this lyric: “You’ve been through hell, kid, but you don’t feel that it exists.”
“405 (feat. Yacht)” and “Cheap Sunglasses (feat. Matthew Koma)” keep the pop feel of the album alive. “405″ is the most radio-friendly track on the album and also rings slightly hilarious to me since it’s so lighthearted. The reality of the 405 Freeway, which this is in reference to, is markedly less so (being one of the most congested roads in the country). All the familiar elements of RAC’s style are here and show a continued skill for his unique sound. “Cheap Sunglasses” opens playfully and falls into an almost Disney-esque quality, though it’s treated as anything other than demeaning to the style. It’s infectious and childlike, while at the same time, it admonishes the Hollywood and California stereotyped lifestyle. But in reality, the capitalism and materialism noted can exist anywhere.
“Ready for It (feat. St. Lucia)” is one of the more interesting tracks on the release. It’s like a lullaby played in the style of early Final Fantasy video games. There’s an undercurrent of the Twin Peaks theme song and some vocal elements from early Tears for Fears. It ends way too soon for me. I could listen to this track for at least half an hour and be blissful for it.
“All I Got (feat. Peter Moren)” and “We Belong (feat. Katie Herzig)” are more laid-back and more heartfelt. They both touch on the idea of that the past is the past and the future will be what it is, so be happy with what you’ve done and don’t fight against the inevitable things ahead. They are like modern day takes on “Que Sera Sera”, with a lot less French.
Rounding out this music review is “I Should’ve Guessed (feat. Speak)”, which brings out RAC’s notable front-facing bass line and isolated drums with a touch of tribal beats. It moves nicely along and relates the idea of the inevitable actions of someone you care about and not being able to change them even if you wanted to.
So Strangers (Part 2) did not at all fail to impress and excite me. It’s a little more low-key and less radio-friendly than Part 1, but still fun to listen to and it makes a nice companion piece. The saddest part now is I have no idea how long it will be until I can write another music review for RAC’s work, which I can only hope will be sooner than later.