There was a time when singles were mainly released as an advert and to test the water ahead of an artist’s full-length album release. But as download technology took off, the opposite approach became the norm and singles seemed to be released as and when they were ready, often without an album to call home. Byorn Gold, being the clever fellow that he is, realised that there was a third way. What if he grouped the tracks that would eventually make up his next album together by theme and released them as three EP length collections. And so, the album Hindsight 20-20 is the accumulation of Love…, Life… and People In Hindsight which have been drip feed out to the public over the last few months.
Although I have written about the music as it originally formatted, there is something to be gained from revisiting it as a full album. Why? Because albums are more than just a collection of songs, they are sonic journeys and much of their enjoyment is derived from the dynamic ebb and flow, the way songs sit cheek by jowl, either complementing or contrasting, musical and emotional peaks and troughs. There is a lot to be said for the way tracks are ordered to attain the maximum effect.
A great example of this is the way that the sweet and sensual tones of I Love You Still, a modern pop-soul ballad, is used to alter the mood from the upbeat yet spacious grooves of Dream Girl that comes before it and the funky shuffles of Perfect Storm which takes us back into the dynamic, sonic highlands.
And the contrasts of a well-ordered album are more than just to do with volume. Comme Je T’adore is a wonderfully intimate narrative, honest and open, heartfelt and relatable, laced through with almost Latin vibes and That Ed Sheeran Guy which follows, is tongue in cheek and fun, poking fun at his ubiquity but doing so in a respectful way. They could hardly come from more different places. Similarly, the lush waltz and chiming grace of Mary Has A Secret, a song with a religious theme, sits next to Next Question Please, a blustery and energetic pop-rock hustle. Also, the understated and emotive I Cry A Tear is a world away from the Latin jazz bop and boogie of Seguire which follows it.
Some of the songs are more than they seem to be, in fact, most are, but particularly Better Late Than Never which on the surface seems like just another love song but when looked at from a different angle could be taken as great advice for life in general, perhaps the artist talking to himself, perhaps remaining us all that procrastination is not the way forward. Similarly, Glimpse could be taken as a romantic look back at the ancient city of Constantinople but it is also the dream of a hopeful future put into song. And if you are looking for the ultimate reminder that not all relationships take us where we might hope for then So Bad (1-2-3) says it all and at least the song itself is a smooth ride even if the cautionary tale that it carries isn’t.
It was great writing about these songs as they were grouped together by their connective themes as individual releases, but with all of the songs now residing in the same place, you get an even better sense of the ability of Byorn Gold to surf over genre and style, mood and sentiment, subject and sound to write the songs just as he chooses. No demarcations, no rules, no restrictions. Hindsight 20-20 is many things, it is reflective, musically adventurous, heartfelt and wonderfully accessible, but more than anything it is the sound of a songwriter unburdened by notions of fad or fashion, of era or genre. More artists should try it, the world would be a much more interesting place if they did.