Written By: Darwin Green
With a bias more towards country than pop, softer than rock, slightly harder than easy listening, with flourishes of electro-sounds and production, Brandon Stanley delivers an album full of surprises. I bet Stanley wrote these songs outdoors, in the sun, with black axel grease covering a sensitive heart with nostalgia for small towns, church, and dreams of the big city.
Some songs are meant for live performances, and while listening to “Big Old World,” the title track, one can imagine the waving bodies of adoring fans, the smell of incense and other types of smoke drifting through the air, and thousands of lit cigarette lighters or cell phones held up in appreciation. It’s a catchy, story of people in the style of Mellencamp that, as the title suggests, deals with universal themes of struggle and contradiction. It’s apparent why the album has the title of this song. Each song on the album lays out the story of people in their various private struggles and dilemmas, encompassing a whole world of heartache and faith.
Faith plays a large role on the album. With tracks entitled “Jesus on Main Street,” and “Grace Will Guide,” as well as reference to Jesus on other songs it strongly suggests that Stanley has deep roots in Christianity. “Two Chords & The Truth” is practically an ode to Christianity. One would not find it surprising if a large part of Stanley’s influences came from church hymns.
Soulful, inspiring, and contemplative are three adjectives I could ascribe to the tightly structured songwriting throughout the whole album. If one had any complaints about the album it might be that the songs are so tightly structured that each song might blend into each other; but that being said, if one likes even one of the songs then one will no doubt like every song.