Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
Constructing an album that is well produced cannot be an easy task. Doing that while using the lyrics to tell a complete life story seems impossible (to me at least). Yet somehow Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties does exactly that in the amazing album that I cannot stop listening to, We Don’t Have Each Other.
The entire album’s lyrics are focused on a Aaron West’s story of how he lost his marriage, their baby, and his rises and falls in the wake of that devastation. There is a lot that could have gone wrong with such a heavy ‘plot’. In fact if I was going based on description alone I likely would have skipped this album entirely and I would have seriously missed out.
Well I spent my whole life saying I’d never need no one
But I think I might need you.
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties has a way of messing with your emotions in the best way. I believe this is accomplished because all of the songs are composed in a really thoughtful way. The lyrics are about great loss and heartache, but the melodies are softer, almost upbeat in some cases (Runnin’ Scared is a great example of that). I think that is what makes this a truly powerful performance. I was about three-quarters of the way though the first song without realizing how heavy the content was. You get moments with lines like “I broke my cell phone, because you won’t fucking tell me when you’re coming home” sung/yelled with such raw emotion that you can’t help but pay attention.
After hearing the album I looked up the band to find out more about Aaron. That was how I found out that it’s a fictional story. My first pass on the album I had no idea (it is that well scripted). All of the lyrics were crafted to bring these characters and the story to life. Even now it is hard to believe that Aaron, Diane, and the rest of the characters that you come to know in the album aren’t actually out there somewhere.
Oh, I wouldn’t quite call it homesick
But I keep seeing your face in the northbound traffic.
Dan Campbell, frontman of The Wonder Years, put together this side project focused on building a fictional narrative. It feels less like an album and more like a good book or movie, which was something I had never experienced before. It is emotion-driven from start to end, and that’s what makes it hard to stop listening to. Just another example of how band members’ side projects can be absolutely amazing.
Check out his site for more details on places you can hear everything the band has to offer. With the new EP Bittersweet out now, it’s a great time to start listening!
Have you heard the album? Let me know your thoughts on the concept and the music in the comments below!