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23 by Stinkus | Album Review


The wait is over: ‘23’ by Stinkus is here, and the album leaves no stone unturned. This fourteen-track compilation showcases the same experimental sound we have seen through previous singles, ‘Not Like Dying,’ ‘I Am,’ and ‘Rodeo Mary.’ This album is conceptually cohesive, navigating a conversational tone that is serious, but not too serious. There is an air of relatability surrounding each aspect of this project, and Tyler Thompson is the mastermind who blends everything together.


With previously released ‘I Am’ as the opening track, the song is given a new life through its place on ‘23.’ Its lyrics feel like a love letter and omen to the project: “She's an open book / I am open-ended.” Through vulnerable lyrics, and a reserved yet identifiable sound, the album welcomes an audience. That vulnerable welcome quickly moves into track two, ‘Spiral,’ which lives up to its name. The heavy production on this track mirrors the heavy lyrics, mimicking an anxious spiral. This track is a window into the gritty and loud production seen later in this album, through tracks like ‘Gone for Good,’ ‘FOLLOW,’ and ‘Fall / Restart.’


Title track ‘23’ is open, honest, and introspective. Filled with self-reflective statements, ‘23’ breaks the fourth wall, allowing listeners to relate to the album’s content. Imparting the wisdom of a lived experience, ‘23’ creates a feeling of connectivity between album and audience.


‘Fucked Up Song’ is my personal favorite. At its core, this song is incredibly fun and has everything you could ever need, all in one track. Catchy melody? Check. Ironic and clever lyrics? Check. A callback to a previously released song? Check, with lyrics “On and on and all the time you're right inside my mind,” referencing the chorus of previous single ‘Not Like Dying.’ If you only have time to listen to one track from ‘23,’ make it this one.

One of the most impressive parts of this album is the detailed imagery created through varying aspects of its songs. Tracks like ‘Good Luck, Good Love,’ demonstrate descriptive sensory lyrics: “You taste tangerine / senior pictures in a magazine.” Beyond lyrics, the track ‘Something To Eat’ provides a creative spin on a classic Halloween nursery rhyme, with the bridge mirroring the tune of “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” Obviously, the song has more eloquent lyrics, but the melodic parallel is incredibly creative and slightly ominous, matching the rest of the song. Staying in the realm of catchy melodies, instrumental track ‘Star’ is a peaceful interlude, placed ten tracks into the album.


The album winds down with track thirteen, ‘Mollie,’ and closing track fourteen, ‘Summer Day.’ ‘Mollie’ is a close second in terms of my personal favorites, because it is simply so beautiful. Tyler’s vocals really shine through the end of this acoustic-focused track, with indescribably gorgeous layered harmonies, for a gut-wrenching closing statement: “I gotta give it up soon.” Finally, we are met with ‘Summer Day’ as our album closer, and it is a beautiful note to end on. The track is a stripped-back instrumental, paired with a reading of Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘The Summer Day.’ The placement of this track feels very intentional, used almost as a moment of reflection- an impactful closing piece for an impactful debut album.


Written, produced, mixed, and mastered by Tyler Thompson, ‘23’ by Stinkus is a work of art. There are so many intricacies woven into this album, and each one represents the extent of Tyler’s talent. This project is one that deserves the spotlight in every way, shape, and form. I cannot encourage you enough to take the time to sit down and enjoy this album, and all it has to offer. This is the beginning of the world that is Stinkus- do yourself the favor, and join in!


Written By: Julia Brennan


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