Emotional Relation - I Will Choose You - Stereo Stickman

Emotional Relation I Will Choose You


Rock legend Emotional Relation lays everything on the table with this latest explosive and heartfelt album I Will Choose You. The Texas troubadour compiles twelve original tracks that feel like a full-band offering, effectively uniting the past and present of creative and organic rock.

From the moment the album begins, our protagonist Stephen pours that live rock energy into proceedings – every ounce of energy and enthusiasm ready to grip you throughout. The songwriting is instantly iconic for its unique structure and sentimental depth. I Will Choose You is the six-minute opener and title-track, something like progressive rock with a Brit-pop twist and a set-up not too far apart from the likes of Queen.

Just as the name implies, emotions drive the creative force that is Emotional Relation, and the revealing and celebratory I Will Choose You aims straight for the complexities and beauties of love. The opening song is epic in itself, an unusual decision to lay bare first of all – feeling like a climactic closer in many ways for this chapter of the story. But, in hindsight it’s a clever decision, allowing the rest of the project to take steps elsewhere – blending genres all the more freely, and reflecting more intimately on the highs and lows of romantic connection.

Heavier distortion and high-octane performance lights up the punk-kissed anthem that is Has Beens, a mighty and uplifting earworm of a track, the first single to release, and an early personal favourite. Then we get the striking riff work and devotedly powerful drums of Save My Life – a fearless display of vulnerability and realness, which connects for its fine use of contrast, contemporary feel, and the stream of consciousness, poetic nature of the lyrics.

Exceedingly Average is distinctly memorable, contrast mastered again between these quirky indie verses, the heavy drop-ins, and the stripped-back, melodically uplifting juxtaposition of the hook resolve. The chorus feels like a warm acceptance, but also lyrically celebrates the ordinary aspects and even the failures of a life. It’s a fascinating song, and one of the most recognisable on this album.

Colourful synths redirect the pop-punk presence of Changing Our Reflection, another song that captures attention for its musicality but later connects in a wealth of other ways for the contents of its writing. The synths reach further still for the rather epic sci-fi celebratory tones and rise and fall energy of Put You First Now.

Then things veer towards intimacy and quiet contemplation, for the piano-led introduction to an ultimately boldly passionate It Was Always a Sweet, Sweet Sixteen. Here we notice the intricacies of Stephen’s voice, the edge of emotion that truly moves his creative work, and the true nostalgic longing and wonder that first inspired an album like this. The acapella closing moment in particular stops things in their tracks for a while, which works well as a predecessor to the fast-paced distortion and effects of pop-punk powerhouse I Love You Every Time.

The arena-ready weight and opposing lyrical delicacy continues throughout Long Lost Anthem, and softens to a new musical calm and space for the deeply moving and retro-toned instrumental piece One More For The Road. After this, mellow ballad-vibes extend for the near-acoustic and breathy introduction to When I Seek (I’ll Never Find You Hide From Me). Songs like this emerge with a uniquely storytelling arrangement, a fine back and forth between softness and weight, and a touch of the theatrical presence of bands like Panic! At The Disco or, again, the ever-relevant Queen.

We finish with a fast-fingered piano reprise of I Will Choose You, one more unexpected moment of instrumental simplicity during the quiet heartbreak of these final three tracks. It’s an artistic closing moment, over fifteen minutes in full, and brings us full-circle – suddenly able to realise why the title-track came first. Stephen envelops himself in the moment here, unconcerned with expectation or industry, and appropriately encapsulates the sheer freedom and, of course, emotional heart of the album.

The whole thing is quite the journey, enjoyable and impressive on first listen, rewarding and revealing increasingly with each revisit.

Find Emotional Relation on Facebook & Instagram or visit their Website. or check out our in-depth interview from 2021.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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