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Album Review: Change of Scenery II by Quinn XCII

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Mikael Temrowski, or better known by his stage name, Quinn XCII (92) is a singer and songwriter from Detroit. You may remember him from a previous review of mine, A Letter to My Younger Self. He has now arrived with his fourth studio album, Change of Scenery II. This is actually a follow up to his 2015 EP titled Change of Scenery.

The first track from the album is We Made This Album In Newport. Judging by the title, you can probably tell that this is just an introduction to the album, and it's also just under a minute in length. There really isn't too much going on instrumentally or vocally. We do have some strings, piano, and other light notes thrown in there. For the vocals, it seems like there are some pre-recorded talking parts on there, as well as some vocals from Mikael.

The first actual track we get from the album is Distracted Youth. The first thing I notice is an electronic guitar switching between octaves. The electronic guitar usually keeps on for most of the track and doesn't usually switch up much. It also doesn't really build up instrumentally either until about the halfway point and the end of the track. Other than that, his vocals sound a bit strange since he stresses the first two words of each line during the verses. Lyrically, he talks about how teens are just looking for attention instead of love.

My Wife & 2 Dogs was one of the most recent promotional singles for this album. While I usually ignore singles for albums, I was able to get a few short snippets of this track. This was definitely a track I had to get used to, especially since it is a bit different from his earlier albums, and much different than his 2020 album. The beat is a nice mix between hip hop and pop, but his lyrics just seem a bit cheesy since he's talking about his wife and dogs. I guess it's not a terrible track, just the lyrics could use some working on.
 
SOS opens up with a quick acoustic introduction. After the introduction, Mikael comes in with his vocals and staccato-like synths. Just like most of his other tracks, the track grows in instrumentation during the chorus, but it is a bit toned down than some of the other tracks on this project. While the track talks about someone drowning or starting to sink, it seems to be a reference to a relationship and how one person may be falling out of love, or are rather in a dark place.
 
Hey, Goodbye slowly transitions from the previous track with the short and sweet guitar picks. For whatever reason, there's something about his soft and sweet vocals that add so much value to some of his tracks, even if it's just the "la la la" part of the track. Besides this being another track that was shared through TikTok, this track seems to talk about a short fueled friendship between two people. It started during the fall, but the person left during the spring.

Doris Terrace was definitely something I was not expecting to hear from this album. We have some light and high-pitched to introduce the track, then after that, we are introduced to some synths that is used periodically through the track. We definitely get the full effect of the synth during the chorus which gives off an 80s aesthetic. This track seems to tackle some issues of mental health and no matter what kind of day you are having, the sun will always shine for this person.

Stay Next To Me was another promotional single for this album. I was a bit worried for this track since it was kind of different than some his previous pieces of work, but as I've said before, these tracks have had some time to grow on me and this was definitely one of them that I've had a complete overhaul of feelings. You also can't forget the nice addition of Chelsea Cutler to the mix. There's also an acoustic version of this track if that would rather suit you instead.

Mexico City changes up the vibe of the album, but this has definitely become of my favorite tracks with the catchy beat and lyrics. You have some pre-recorded sounds at the beginning, but then we are greeted with some guitars, and 'picked' guitar lines. This track basically talks about being young and having no commitments. He talks about moving to Mexico City and just living their life and living out the back of a car.

Monday Morning brings us back to the high pitched electronic guitar and the glitzy synth that was casually used throughout the album. As much as I love the instrumental, this just seems so out of his element, but he seems like he's enjoying it, and killing it at that. On this track, it seems like he's talking about this girl that he just met and he's wondering if the relationship is over. I'm assuming by the lyrics the relationship just fizzled out over time.

Of course we have to have one acoustic track from the album which is We Don't Talk Enough. The acoustic track seems a bit boring for the most part since it's just a generic guitar pattern that follows the same chord progression. I also wish there were more parts where Quinn XCII and Alexander23 were singing together since there voices actually match up pretty well. We have a few sneak peaks of them singing together, but it just cuts it short.

Feel Something brings up the energy back up and Mikael's playful vocals. We have the electronic feeling guitars, but also get some powerful synths brought back in around the halfway point. While it does talk about hanging out with friends and partying, it does take on a darker side since he said he would jump off a skyscraper to feel something. He talks about fears of being alone or not being enough for the people he loves.

The final track from the album is Look How Far We've Come. Besides the electronic guitar at the beginning, we have some vocal effects thrown into the beat. This track basically talks about how far Mikael has come ever since he was in college or his younger days. Despite not being a favorite track of mine, I feel like this is a perfect closer to end the album on a lighter note since some of the previous tracks were a bit darker in nature.

This was definitely a breath of fresh air since I didn't really care for his previous album. I'm glad that he came out with this and am looking forward to a brighter future with his music career.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: My Wife & 2 Dogs, SOS, Stay Next To Me, Mexico City
 
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