When you spend most of your teenage years living like a rockstar, constantly hitting the road, gig after gig, party after party, it can be tough to suddenly find yourself without your bandmates and without a new musical project to focus on. Usually, there are two ways to fix this issue: you either give up music for good or you roll up your sleeves and get back to work, alone.
Dean Lemon, the former drummer of the pop-rock band ROOM 94, no longer in business since 2017, chose the second path, coming up with a brand new identity and a brand new musical project he called afterboy.
With an interesting and versatile mix of all of his influences, from hip-hop to punk rock, the London-based artist debuted this year with a five-track EP efficaciously named Mixed Emotions. Alone, the opening track of the release, is also the brightest and lightest one in the bunch, with a pop vibe interestingly entwined to a deeper mood.
While the influence of Lil Peep and other darker trap artists, as well as Linkin Park and more rock-oriented bands, is particularly evident in the EP, Alone is somewhat closer to the contemporary bubblegum trap trend, with its lighter themes and sounds.
The song might be about a break-up, but the attitude presented by the artist in his rhymes and his interpretation leaves no room for commiseration or sad feelings. Quite the contrary, it expresses a need for a change and the willingness to “be alone” and face the reality, however uncomfortable it may be. The lyrics are quite relatable, a fact that will surely help the listeners connect to the song and the artist on a deeper level.
The track starts with an eerie, strings-sounding instrumental introduction, soon enriched by a classic laid-back beat. After this very short intro, the listener is instantly dragged into the captivating hook, the best recurring element in the song, decisive and uplifting. The following sections present a more minimalist accompaniment, with the strings still playing a huge role in the characterization of the production. There is a nice balance in the dynamics, a trick that will definitely keep the listener engaged from start to finish. Lastly, there are some innovative and inventive uses of vocal effects, certainly a big requirement in these kinds of productions.
After Mixed Emotions, afterboy released i don’t need u, a single that explores a more aggressive side of the artist while keeping the eclectic and versatile approach and identity we heard in his previous work.
With his eclectic ideas, the strong production features in his songs, and a determined attitude, afterboy will surely appeal to a large demographic of listeners.