Corey Stapleton and The Pretty Pirate’s new album, Sea Change, is a mellow and warm hearted deep dive into navigating change. Stapleton expertly examines the woes of transformation on a personal and collective level. Sea Change explores the complexities of life over the last few years and how much courage changing your ways requires. Catchy melodies and clever lyrics come together to create powerful and evocative ballads. Electric guitars bring Sea Change into the country-pop category, while a few tracks maintain that classic country sound. There’s no denying that Corey Stapleton and The Pretty Pirates have a hit on their hands.
The intersection between the personal and political is prominent on Sea Change. Stapleton masterfully navigates this balance by reflecting on the state of the world through his experiences. Often drawing parallel’s between his personal life and how the masses are coping with rapid change. Stapleton isn’t afraid to go there, which is what makes this album so mesmerizing to listen to. There is an honesty you can detect in Stapleton’s buzzy voice that makes every song relatable. Whether he’s singing about heartbreak, personal metamorphosis, or the perils of war, Stapleton is always open and honest. The gentle approach in the production of Sea Change helps to set the tone for whatever subject he’s tackling. There is no brooding melodies on this album, songs like “Kabul’s Fallen,” “The Darkest Part,” and “Even Though” feature relaxed and inviting melodies. This helps balance the subject matter, highlighting the lessons Stapleton took from his experiences.
A stand out track is, “The Pen,” it talks about starting fresh after a relationship has come to its end. Stapleton chronicles his history before crooning in the chorus, “We can rewrite the things that are wrong/We had the power all along.” “The Pen” is a truly uplifting track about making mistakes and recovering from them. Most songs about heartbreak or something falling apart end there. Stapleton reminds listeners to grow from their experience, rather than beat themselves up about it. Sometimes the disintegration of a relationship paves a new path for you and your former partner. One of the best lyrics from “The Pen” is, “Don’t mistake the ending with broken pride.” Stapleton does what he does best on this track by sharing the lessons he learned with his audience.
The production on Sea Change is out of this world. Every sound is syncopated but cohesive, no melody feels out of place, and Stapleton isn’t afraid to play with his voice. Acoustic and electric guitars might as well be their own entity on this album. No riff or melody sounds the same, but all convey so much feeling. There is a sense of prowess and control in the guitars, they never go too far and dominate the track. They are always just right, making each ballad vulnerable and imbuing electricity into the upbeat tracks. Stapleton’s artistry is highlighted on “Mosaic,” “New Me,” and “My First Rodeo. Not..” His lyrics are poetic and personal but still approachable. Its clear that Stapleton had a vision for this album, the cogent nature of the track listing is proof of that. One of the biggest themes of Sea Change is personal transformation and the album itself goes through a transformation. He opens with title track “Sea Change” and ends with “New Me.”
Sea Change is a triumph for Corey Stapleton and The Pretty Pirates. The love that was put into this album is undeniable. You can feel it coursing through every song from start to finish. Stapleton wrote an album about growth, by sharing his feelings and observations he’s made an incredibly positive musical experience. Growth is complicated and often hard to explain but Sea Change makes it accessible for everyone. If you’ve been working hard on yourself or need to be reminded that you are only human, listen to Sea Change, you will feel better. Don’t miss it!
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