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Monday, September 25, 2023


Album Review: Simple lyrics, catchy beats make a ‘Champion’

A handful of albums in any music fan’s collection that could be filed under "guilty pleasures," and The Audition’s sophomore release, Champion, will definitely secure a spot.

The pop-rock group’s 2005 release Controversy Loves Company made for one of Victory Records’ strongest debuts in recent memory, especially taking into consideration that most of the band members aren’t even of legal age to drink.

The five-piece has taken in new influences, with vocalist Danny Stevens citing classic soul artists such as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder along with contemporaries Rascal Flatts and Robin Thicke as influences.

On Champion, the band has tightened up its sound, with considerable improvements on guitars. Guitarists Seth Johnson and Timmy Klepek have grown into their sound and on songs such as "Warm Me Up," the band’s first single, and "Ether," you can really get a good feel for their newfound talent.

Another improvement lies within the vocals of Stevens. The three years between the recording of their debut and Champion has given him enough time to progress melodically. "Make It Rain" and "Basbhat" feature catchy and addictive hooks that are bound to get stuck in your head and annoy you for days on end.

However, the band hasn’t progressed much lyrically. In some cases, the band has stepped it up, but on the other hand, lyrics such as "Carry me like jet planes crossing the sea," in "Edinboro" tend to come off as immature and lackluster.

The Audition also tends to make short albums. Clocking in at about 37 minutes, Champion is fast-paced and to the point, much like their 32-minute debut. The band does not waste time with interludes or instrumentals, providing for a quick and easy listen.

Because the band has progressed, fans of Controversy are bound to be disappointed, as is the case for most bands and their sophomore album. At the same time, this opens up doors for a new fan base.

The biggest grievance with this album is that it is a summer album being released in January, and it may not have the lasting power to be played until the summer.

However, The Audition have crafted a catchy album, filled with power-pop and huge sing-a-long choruses to have you and your friends singing songs out loud in the car, if you’re into that sort of thing. Champion is by no means a groundbreaking album, but it’s a fun record that is worth the listen.

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