Allen Stone blends soul, funk and pop in “Building Balance”

Fun soul grooves and funk rhythms make up for lack of amazing lyrics in Stone’s new album

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Allen Stone blends soul, funk and pop in “Building Balance”

Courtesy of YouTube

Courtesy of YouTube

Courtesy of YouTube

Sammy Newcomer, Freelance Writer

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After three years since his last record, Allen Stone delivered his fourth studio album, where his unique sound of soul and pop return for a fun group of tracks that, while never phenomenal, deliver quite a bit of fun.

LYRICAL LETDOWN

Building Balance” packs 14 songs into 48 minutes, ranging from catchy pop grooves to soulful ballads. Lyrically, Stone never lives up to his best work. The brilliant social commentary seen in “American Privilege” is nowhere to be found. The project primarily sticks to love songs, but never achieves the insight seen in past releases. The love-centered songs on this record are never as poignant as “Upside,” a memorable track from Stone’s last album.

FUN POP GROOVES

Although not as strong lyrically, Stone’s sound makes the tracks so easy to listen to. The blend of soul, pop, and rock consistently satisfies listeners. Stone’s incorporation of slap bass, synth chords and acoustic melodies keeps listeners on their toes waiting to hear what comes next. Stone introduces a variety of sounds that keep listeners engaged, but has enough consistency to avoid disorientation. “Brown Eyed Lover,” “Taste of You” and “Warriors” deliver an irresistible catchy rhythm. With funk grooves that keeps listeners nodding heads and tapping feet. 

POWERFUL SOUL BALLADS 

While the more upbeat songs entertain, Stone shines most when he slows down. “Hold It Down” blends a slower acoustic backdrop with soul and electronic elements. “Lay It Down” starts simple, but the ballad becomes increasingly more complex in a crescendo of funk and soul. The echoing vocals and synth bridge in “Give You Blue” stun listeners with brilliant harmony. These tracks allows listeners to experience the wonderful pay off to a fun musical journey. 

Stone’s new record is not quite his best work. His lyrics, while passable, do not live up to the clever and witty lines he produced in the past. His songs, while fun, are never truly groundbreaking. Regardless, his impressive sound has returned, making “Building Balance” a fun record well-worth a listen.