The new album is the most personal record Perrone has delivered to date. As he explained in his latest interview with Inner Ear Media, Perrone doesn't necessarily wants to pour out his heart but it's the only way it feels right for him. And this is exactly why I hold Chad Perrone in such high regard. Because everything he lays on us in his songs is real and genuine. He allows us to feel with him. Whether you take on the original interpretation of the songs or one you reflect on your own situation, the emotion within it strikes a chord with you because it was penned and performed from the heart and soul of someone who felt it himself.
On "Kaleidoscope" this is more true than ever. The nature of the music is still the singer-songwriter that writes pop tunes with an edge. But if you are familiar with Chad Perrone's catalogue you will hear things you haven't yet heard him do before. The pain and hopelessness that infuses some of the songs is tangible, the usage of beats, drum loops, synths enriches the bare essence of the songs and stories on the album. Sonically, this is a whole new Chad Perrone and because it was done with purpose, you will find that it only enhances his natural talent and doesn't distract from it as is so often the case with other records.
The album opens with Minor Letdowns which is one of the most powerful songs on this record. The heartbreak drips from the notes everyone who's ever experienced a form of heartbreak will have a hard time keeping a dry face. As a grown man I'm not ashamed to admit I get misty-eyed while listening to this song. The utter emotion you hear and feel when he sings "...Consider me inspired/Amid the glow of my whole world set on FIRE!.." sends chills down my spine.
"...They say I work better when my heart's in disrepair/I'll agree but I never wanted us to wind up here..." leads into the almost venomous chorus of this powerful anthem called Feel Everything. Perrone's vocals remain powerful even though you can still hear the pain, tears, anger, confusion and disbelief within. If ever an artist was able to bare his soul through his art, it is Chad Perrone.
The Phil Collins-esque Match is unlike anything I heard before from Chad Perrone. The 80s 'beat' that drives the song along with Perrone's vocals is aptly applied. It's intense and you can easily form an image to go along with the lyrics. First Move is extremely catchy and danceable in proper Perrone fashion but sonically he enters an entirely new territory. It's like he's channeling his inner Michael Jackson and incorporates it in the Chad Perrone we all have come to know and love. Radio stations around the world, pay attention: you need to pick up this song yesterday. I made the first move by telling you about this, so it's up to you to follow suit!
The magnum opus on "Kaleidoscope" has to be The Fine Art of Feigning Interest. 4 minutes and 7 seconds of goosebumps. "...I'm surrounded by my friends but how many of them know who I am...". Let that one linger for a second. The intense and intriguing manner of delivery and the powerful chorus drives this song to great heights. Speaking for myself it makes me want to hit repeat again and again. So many parts of this song speak to me on a deep and personal level, relating to different stages in my own life. The way Perrone words it is flawless: "...There's more to this than listening/It's what you do with the words once they're spoken...". It's one of those songs that can haunt you and make you remember things (whether they are fresh or somewhere in the back of your head).
Gone is a darker song. One that stabs like a dagger. Perrone's vocals start off soft, with a lot of restraint but it is within that restraint that the powerful delivery lies. The music accompanying Perrone's vocals ominously sounds like thunder and lightning have invaded this song as Perrone sends this song off as a sort of curse to the woman that broke his heart. Sometimes fear, anger and pain are the purest of emotions present in your heart and songs like these reflect on how music can have a therapeutic purpose. Singing away these emotions or listening to someone who knows your fear, your anger, your pain and lives through it along with you makes a difference. Knowing you're not alone, sharing your darker emotions with others serves as part of the healing. There was a time in my life where this song was exactly what I needed to hear and I am certain there are those among you who will experience just that when listening to it.
We hear a more 'classic' Chad Perrone on a song that was born to be a radio single. If Only For A Weekend holds one of the catchiest choruses I've heard this year. It has a classic Perrone-melody even though drum beats and synths are added to enhance its sound. On Love Me Better there's a certain feeling of acceptance with Perrone taking up the courage to look to the future. The uncertainty and feeling of being lost is paired with the realization that there is still going to be a future that includes the finding of new love.
The catchy beats continue on Recovery is a Long Road. It also continues the theme of starting to look at the future. It has a slight 80s feel to it and is quite danceable in its own right. Again I may draw comparisons to Phil Collins who had a number of danceable pop hits in his day. Perrone does it, at least, just as well. Saving Grace took me by surprise. You can interpret the instrumentation representing sirens, heartbeats, a brewing storm and so on. It's an ominous track laden with a dark melody. And always present in the midst of it, like the eye of the storm, is Perrone's stellar vocal performance that ties together this excellent song.
"Kaleidoscope" ends with A Fine Departure. It is solemn and rings like a promise or a warning. It almost summons the listener. Try to spot the different references to Perrone's catalogue while he portrays his path up to now in this remarkable song. From the moment Perrone picks up the intensity (around 4:46 in) the song starts to soar and A Fine Departure closes out this record with fire and wonder.
"Kaleidoscope" came in a little too late to compete for Album of the Year in the 2014 Inner Ear Media awards, otherwise Perrone might've taken home the honors for the 3rd time in 10 years. It shows how consistently strong this musician has been in his art over the past decade and how fortunate we are to be able to listen to and experience a talent like his. "Kaleidoscope" is going to speak to many people because you're either going to relate to the emotions displayed as you live(d) through them yourself or because you're going to feel them through Chad Perrone's genuinely heartfelt songs. The record may have been born in pain and sadness and it comes to fruition in this highly impressive masterpiece but I hope the album serves therapeutic and healing not only to the people who listen to it but to its creator as well. And here's to hoping Perrone's future albums don't have to be born out of sadness but instead can be produced in a state of happiness that this man deserves.