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Something Deeper Than These Changes

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Album Review

From its stark cover painting to the introspective lyrics and acoustical setting, Stew has boiled down all of the musical ingredients incurred from his solo discs and outings with the Negro Problem to leave his most intensely flavored and personal collection yet. Melodic meditations on love, loss, happiness, and regret fill the disc, creating what feels like a musical self-portrait painted by Stew in an attempt to show you Something Deeper Than These Changes. Looking past the beautifully colored lines of pop melody, Stew's lyrics provide a dense, solid base that enhances the music with more depth than on previous discs. Setting the tone is the quietly affecting "Love Like That," in which Stew reflects on the love people receive, almost unknowingly, in their rebellious youth that is appreciate in later years as "loves taken for granite/when you don't understand it/since it came so easily/must be free." Later in the disc he views love from the parent's perspective in the sweet folk setting of "The Sun I Always Wanted," as a child's birthday means more than cake, ice cream, and presents. Throughout the disc, love is the central theme and even the darker aspects of loving something rather than someone are explored. In "Kingdom of Drink," Stew studies the seemingly magical and escapist world of an alcoholic who appears to love his life of indulgences despite the many downfalls. A circus-like lounge keyboard paints this picture of accepted despair framed by synthetic beats that drunkenly stumble along. But this bleak musical setting is balanced by Stew's aptitude for writing pop/cabaret-style songs that show off his influences as in "The Instrument of Pain", which sounds like a lost song from Burt Bacharach's early-'70s collaborations with B.J. Thomas. With every brush stroke of music, Stew creates an indelible image in your mind that becomes deeper and more focused with each viewing. To simply call him an artist is an understatement as Something Deeper Than These Changes elevates Stew into the upper echelon of pop songwriting masters.


Born: 1961 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Indie rock is hardly a traditional path to success on the Broadway stage, but Stew has never been an ordinary musician. As leader of the group the Negro Problem, he's crafted witty, literate, and intelligently constructed pop music that didn't bear much resemblance to the work of his peers, and the fact he was an African-American artist working outside the widely accepted confines of "black music" only made him seem that much more unique. After years of pleasing critics and a small number of loyal...
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Something Deeper Than These Changes, Stew
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