In folk music, the vocal tends to be the star of the show, and it’s in this regard exclusively that the new EP though the world will tell me so, vol. 2 from singer/songwriter Joshua Radin is a conventional record. With his mighty voice guiding forth some of the smartest lyrics of his career thus far, Radin delivers one profound harmony after another in “This One’s For,” “Don’t Give Up on Me,” and two cuts of “Neverland,” each of which could qualify as reason enough to check out the complete tracklist. However, what’s intriguing about though the world will tell me so, vol. 2 isn’t so much that its creator gives us another slew of strong vocal songs, but that the instrumentation he’s contending with is debatably as complex as his verses are.
“Don’t Give Up on Me” challenges Radin with its stacked arrangement, but I think that his decision to take a subtle approach to the hook is what makes this one of his more exciting songs here. He’s not trying to get our attention with a lot of theatrics in his lyricism; he’s got sonic depth behind his words, and he’s using it to extend a deeper emotional touch to us that wouldn’t be easy to communicate with verses alone. I think he’s grown up a lot in the last two decades, and this record is proof of that.
While Joshua Radin cannot be accused of recycling themes that other players to have come before him made their careers on, there’s undeniably an old-fashioned alternative folk structure to “This One’s For” and “Over the City” in particular that felt especially familiar to me. This doesn’t make it seem like we’re listening to something we’ve already heard before, nor a model that’s simply been updated for a new generation of fans, but instead, it’s like he’s picking up where some of his influences left off, establishing his personality as one with the music and rejecting the notion of incorporating synthetics where natural melodies should be. The mixing in though the world will tell me so, vol. 2 is very slick, and I must say that the skillset at hand emphasizes the quality of the music as a whole. Every part of “Man of the Year” and “Neverland (version two)” glistens, and yet the cloned tone that I’ve come to expect out of a lot of folk music in the past five years is completely absent from this mix .
Joshua Radin is diversifying in his style, and I think though the world will tell me so, vol. 2 is the most comprehensive breakdown of his artistry so far. He’s candid in these lyrics but ambitious with the instrumental framework through which he sets the tone for a story, and while I think he’s pushing himself much harder than needed to maintain a fan base, it’s still producing some of his best work in this extended play. If you haven’t listened to his music before, I recommend this as an excellent introduction to his abilities akin to We Were Here, as this is just as complete a depiction of who he is as an artist.
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