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Temporary Contemporary

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Album Review

An album about a struggling singer is nothing new. However, Ryan Shelkett, singer and guitarist of Cross My Heart, takes things to a new level on Temporary Contemporary. Shelkett displays his strong, passionate voice throughout this nine-song disc, singing about broken love and mental breakdowns in such a manner that only those who have been there may be able to truly understand. Much of the lyrical content deals with Shelkett's personal struggles with depression, his time spent on anti-depressant medication as well as his attempted suicide ("London Bridge"). While the content may be far too heavy for the average fan of emo pop, Cross My Heart makes no pretenses of this being an easy ride. The music itself is hard to swallow as well, but not in a disagreeable manner. Rather, the average fan of pop music will be taken for a disturbing ride with Cross My Heart's disenchanting ride of stops and starts combined with Shelkett's sung vocals which turn into anguish-filled screams at the drop of a hat. The softly strung guitars and light drum taps can become blurry and abrasive multiple times within the course of a track. None of this means that Cross My Heart is heavy or hardcore. Quite to the contrary, they are delicate as Shelkett weaves the tragic, heart-breaking tale of his downward spiral into depression. Only the narrow scope of the topic keeps Temporary Contemporary from being a classic, as many fans may not be able to identify with the true wretchedness which recurs in one's mind when suffering from depression. Not to be forgotten are the hooks, which, when combined with the smart songwriting, strong, dynamic vocals, and powerful lyrics, make Temporary Contemporary a win. There is an effective connection between the music and lyrics on Temporary Contemporary that clicks well and brings on success. Cross My Heart has written an album that may not be for everyone and even at that it takes a few listens to get used to, but is definitely worth it.


Formed: 1999 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The embryonic emo band Cross My Heart has been well touted in the press for their creatively wounded lyrics, and frontman Ryan Shelkett doesn't refrain from hitting upon despair, remorse, and revival. The Baltimore four-piece (rounded out by drummer Evan Tanner, bassist Christopher Camden, and guitarist/vocalist Dwayne Bruner) released its self-titled EP in 1999. Their full-length Temporary Contemporary, a strong showcase of Cross My Heart's restless...
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Temporary Contemporary, Cross My Heart
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