Run Downhill is the brainchild of multi-Grammy award-winning artist T.J. Troy, a Los Angeles-based musician/writer/producer. Troy has released five albums of original music, for accompanying comic books and an augmented reality postcard. His latest album is entitled Nineteen/Twenty.
The first song is entitled “Rock and Roll Ain’t a Rhythm” and begins with a strummed acoustic guitar, bass, a forward moving 4/4 beat and some lead guitar as well. It’s one of the catchier songs on the album and contains a great vocal performance. The song really hits its stride when the vocal harmonies coalesce with the lead vocal. There’s some wicked lead guitar playing towards the end which is barely contained from the fuzz.
You are transported to a dusty desert when you hear “On The 2nd Day.” There’s a warm picking pattern on the acoustic guitar, with subtle pads and drums that are produced in a way that fits the music. The emotional overtones are pretty varied. It’s somewhat serene but also creates a sense of loneliness.
“Something at Once Better” leans more into dreampop and shoegaze which I wasn’t expecting but works. The pads have this white noise type quality which makes them feel dreamlike. It’s a very different vocal approach from the opener but again fits the song.
“Carl Jung” showcases some exceptional guitar picking. I loved the vocals as well. This song has a ’70s folk vibe not too far away from Simon & Garfunkel. We went back into more of a soundscape with “Something Will Come of This” and I felt like I was in the desert again. It’s a slow burn song and very melancholy. I happen to love a good melancholy song and this brings you into that space. There are points where Troy really belts it out.
“Will You Be at the Party Tonight” is a waltz. I thought the guitar sounded great against the cello/violin on this song. This song seemed to be about unrequited love. There are other elements like xylophone and percussive elements which are the cherry on top. “We Were Always Strangers” has one of the more unique grooves. I’m not exactly sure what the bass was doing to get that type of sound but liked it. Similar to some of the previous songs this one is a bit of a slow burn. About halfway through the song starts to open and get brighter. The mood shifts as well to something more joyous.
“Drive Me Somewhere, For I Have No Place To Be” strikes this balance between darkness and beauty. It’s a thought provoking sound where a fuzzy drone is accompanied by a beat and a lead synth which provides the focal melody. “The Daylight Would Not Come” expands and was the first time I was reminded of Pink Floyd while the closer “Rock and Roll, It Is” surrounds you with intimate vocals and warm organ.
There’s a lot going on with the album. There’s just enough similarities within the songs to make it sound cohesive. I thought there were a lot of great songs and a couple that were truly exceptional. I should also mention there are a number of incredible videos that the artist has made. Make sure to check out the one below but there are a lot more. Recommended.
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