2021 self release.
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Dion Bayman – All vocals and instruments.
- Waiting For That Day.
- You Will Never Know.
- One Way Ticket.
- To Die For.
- Something About You.
- Show You Heaven.
This year October 22nd brings with it Dion Bayman’s fifth official studio record aptly christened “Alive”, for that is exactly how this record will make you feel with its mostly optimistic lyrics and upbeat songs that etch their way into your brain and stay there.
Within 20 seconds of the opening track starting our ears are greeted with a robust mixture of keys, guitars and drums that make it obvious that Bayman came to rock this time around.
If you have heard either of the two singles released from the record then you already have a taste of what to expect here but that is not all that awaits you with the album. Dion, like many artists, is someone who is consistent and doesn’t stray far from what is expected from his music. Not a bad thing of course, but not someone you really anticipate being surprised by and so when upon my first listen to the album I was in fact surprised more than a few times, I approached the man himself about it. When asked if these changes were intentional or something that just happened organically Bayman replied “I deliberately wanted to expand my sound a little without straying too far away from what I know“.
So what exactly can we expect with the album? Horns? Check. Keyboard solos? Check. Strings? Check. “There’s a couple of songs with trumpets and some strings as well, plus I’ve thrown in a few keyboard solos and synth sounds along the way” Bayman continues, “but it’s always guitar driven as that’s the kind of music I love to write and record.” Add all of that together along with Dion’s natural flair for writing memorable, hook laden melodies and what you have is his most diverse and most rock oriented album to date. And not only that, with the combination of all of these elements coupled with excellent production this, in my opinion, is sonically his fullest sounding album to date.
The title track is an excellent start to the album and sets up the pace nicely for the next nine tracks. ‘Waiting For That Day‘ is the second track and was the first “official” single released. “I think it’s just a rocking track with a huge chorus and is a great introduction to the album” Dion says about the song when asked why he chose it as the single. “I think it is one of the best rock songs I’ve written” and indeed that it is. A chorus that will instantaneously get stuck in your head and stay there.
‘You Will Never Know‘ is an wonderful mid-tempo rocker with the heartbroken lyrics of a man pining for a lost love that was not meant to be. The sadness of that track is quickly offset with the upbeat ‘One Way Ticket‘, a track that brought to my mind some hints of ‘Lost Highway‘ era Bon Jovi.
“I’m a bit of a sucker for a power ballad, and ‘To Die For’ fits that role nicely on the record” Bayman says about the next track, one of my favorites of the album. “The chord progression, the instrumentation, the arrangement, the harmonies and the strings at the end bring it all together I think. Lyrically I just love the idea that someone would pay the ultimate price for love. ‘I don’t want to die but you are someone to die for‘ says it all. I’m glad it is one of your favorites as it’s certainly one of mine“.
The rocking ‘Breathless‘ throws a curve at you right from the start with it’s chunky intro. One of the most out character songs that Dion has ever done and damn does it ever work for him. A very high energy, fun rocker with lyrics that pair perfectly with the pacing of the track.
Next up is my favorite song of the record. A beautiful mid-tempo track that trades in his typical optimistic lyrics for a weightier subject matter. “‘Miracle‘ was the second song written for the album. It’s quite different in style I think to some of my other songs. It has sparse verses with a little bit of piano and guitar building up to a heavy chorus. It also has some nice guitar runs as well. The obvious sentiment of that song is if you’re going to treat people badly then you’re on your own and I’m outta there” Dion says about the song.
Another of my favorites comes along next. A rocking little number with a killer chorus that was most of ours first taste of what was to come from the record, though we had a very long wait between this song releasing and the album dropping. “‘Jaded‘ was a stand alone single back in 2020 just as the pandemic was kicking in and I think we were all in a state of shock. ‘Jaded‘ reflected that feeling I think. It was certainly where my mind was at at that time“.
Speaking of the current situation in the world, this album was written over the past three years and so I asked Dion if the pandemic had any affect on his writing. “I know some people like to write when they are feeling down as there is more pain to draw from,” he replies. “Generally though if I’m in a bad place the last thing I want to be doing is writing music. I tend to have a year or so off after releasing an album and then one day I’ll think it’s time to write a song. Once I’ve recorded a few songs I then feel more motivation building as I start to see a finish line and I start to get on a roll. The pandemic didn’t really stop this process as writing this album allowed me time to escape what was happening in the world at that time“.
‘Something About You‘ starts with a nice, groovy thumping bassline before turning up the volume for a very catchy chorus and a great, albeit short, keys solo and rounding it out in the end with a touch of horns before heading into the album closer with ‘Show You Heaven‘.
The album is a return for Bayman in a sense. After a string of self produced records he signed with the Art Of Melody Music & Burning Minds Music Group for his 2018 album ‘Better Days‘. When asked the reason behind his decision to go back to doing it all himself his answer, at it’s root, was simple, “I actually enjoy doing it all” he says. “Firstly I’d like to say that Pierpaolo Monti (Zorro) and all the Burning Minds Music Group team are a fantastic bunch of people! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the label. I decided to return to releasing music myself as it’s what I’ve always done and I simply missed doing it. There’s a lot of work involved and it might be hard to believe but I actually enjoy doing it all“.
One thing that was obvious to me as I listened to the album was how much fun Dion seemed to have with this record. The different musical elements he planted into some songs along with the energy of the record just gives the vibes that he really enjoyed making this one and had fun with it.
‘Alive’ finds Dion doing what he does best, delivering an album chock full of memorable melodies that will stay with you long after the album ends. With the beefed up sound and new elements he has incorporated this is without a doubt his strongest album and quickly worked it’s way up to being my favorite record he has released yet.
I have been a fan of Dion’s for many years now and am always very excited for a new record from him but this one is a special one for me because some time back Dion asked if I would be willing to write the introductory liner notes for the physical copies of the album. I was beyond flattered and of course said I was happy to so. You will find a few words from me within the CD insert.
Rating: 98 out of 100.
Reviewed by David.
‘Waiting For That Day‘.
‘You Will Never Know‘.
‘To Die For‘.