If he were dead, he wouldn't have dragged me back here to give an opinion of his album.
I quite enjoyed it as a whole, although I will admit that "I See" is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. Michelle Kwan has an AMAZING voice that fits in extremely well with the melody of the song. This song serves as the perfect hook to get listeners to take a swing at the rest of the songs, while not COMPLETELY overshadowing them. I was completely prepared for it to be only accoustic guitar, having opened the song and not paying any attention to the name. Hearing Brandon's voice at 1:17 was a complete surprise to me, as I wasn't expecting him to be singing in this album for some odd reason. Another surprise was the Recorder starting at 1:38, which then moved into Michelle Kwan's vocalizations, and then into her singing. Which is amazing, as i've already stated. At first I was disappointed that her part had ended so soon, only for a duet between the pair to come up! While it doesn't really seem like the two would mix well, their voices actually combine quite well. I applaud this song, and felt a tear in my eye when it ended, but I knew I had to listen to the rest of the album before I came back to put this song on repeat.
Oh yeah, other songs.
"Comfort" almost put me to sleep, in a good way though. This song is so incredibly relaxing that even listening to it now while Brandonn is making me stay up to review these i'm beginning to fall asleep. I was beginning to get afraid that the song would stagnate until about 1:33, when Brandon switched it up to give us a slight moment moment to wake back up enough to hear be able to register the rest of the song before we were swept back into the land of sheep and green pastures. And repeats the wake up call at 3:37 so that we may make it to the lighthearted ending that begins at 3:19. All in all an extremely relaxing song, Brandon did this one quite well.
"Always Remember", the namesake song of this album, begins with the wailing of Brandon's ibanez s7320, which he felt the need to state was the brand and model of his electric guitar. With a fairly short opening (for him) his vocals come in around 0:34.. I'm quite a fan of the lyrics of this song, but it seems that this song would be better suited as a duet. My ear was waiting for another voice to come in that never did. But other than that, it was quite the enjoyable song.
"Maxine", song number five in the album, and the second instrumental. As with "Comfort" Brandon manages to convey his emotions without the use of words. When I first listened to it, I thought it was a pretty sad song but nothing jumped out at me to make me feel anything more than a slight sadness. But when I was listening to it the second time while inquiring into the song's story Brandon informed me that he had recorded this song the same night his grandmother passed on. This managed to trigger my "Bawwwwwww" switch and this song suddenly brought tears to my eyes.. As it should for you.
When I heard "Time" my first reaction was "GODDAMN IT BRANDON DON'T MAKE ME SAD THEN THROW ME INTO A HAPPY UPBEAT SONG!" and then the lyrics came in. Brandon, why did you bring this happy melody to the table, then have depressing lyrics with it. My mind was too confused as to what it should be feeling to fully appreciate the song. I'll leave this song to your opinions.
"Renaissance Man" from the beginning feels like something that you'd listen to while traveling through the desert, but in some spots the song breaks form and leaves you feeling like you just woke up from a daydream only to throw you back in, other than those small flaws, I quite enjoyed this song. On a side note, a selfish artist is sometimes the best artist, so doing songs for yourself rather than to cater to what you think other people want is generally the best path.
"A Beautiful Dawn".. The name fits the song perfectly. Were life a movie, this would be the song I would want to wake up to each and every morning. It's the kind of song that would rouse you from sleep without being rude, annoying, and making you want to reach for the snooze button. Unfortunately, this song won't be able to wake me up when i've passed out on my keyboard from writing these reviews for brandon. However, I do believe that this song shall be my alarm clock's ring for the next few weeks.
"For My Parents" didn't completely meet my expectations. I would expect a tribute to your own parents to be more than a minute and a half long, and slightly more grandiose song than was provided. To me, this song should've been somewhere between a chase scene's music and a battle scene's music. It was more a mix of Battle and.. I don't even know what. It's a good song, just not as good as it could've been.
"Love, Away (8-Bit)" is the final track on the album, and it would seem Brandon wanted to save the (second) best for last. Because I was speaking to him and not looking at track names again, it was completely unexpected for me to hear full blown "8-Bit" style on an accoustic album. At first I was like, "Wait, what?" but then I just sat back and enjoyed the full glory of this song. Leaps and bounds ahead of the vocal version, this version improves on it completely, and is a perfect way to wrap up this album.
All in all, I would give this album an 8.5/10 Now go download it, maybe donate some money to him, and let me sleep.