Written by: Chantelle D’souza, Naomi Alban & Simon Mildenhall
It’s safe to say that ‘Not all the beautiful things’ by What so Not (Chris Emerson) is one of Australia’s most anticipated electronic albums. The wait for this eccentric 12 track album was definitely worth it, as listening to the album from the start to the finish is definitely a musical journey.
The album begins with off with ‘Warlord’ featuring Perth boys Slumberjack. As soon as you hear the opening synths of this song, you can picture the opening intro song of a festival set that is about to soon become hectic. You can also definitely identify Slumberjacks unique snare + drum pattern sounds, which gives it a wonderful touch.
Track by Track Review:
Warlord (Feat. SLUMBERJACK)
What a great song to begin the album with, it definitely sets you up in the right mood for the rest of the album. This song is 100% that festival or set opener, getting you prepared for a big and crazy night.
Be Ok Again (Feat. Daniel Johns)
A really nice soft intro with good vocals. The drop is a bit disappointing but I kind of like the simplicity of it as it gels well with the whole song. I feel like the song should have ended on the outro instead of creating another build up with lyrics. But then again WSN challenging the stereotypical structure.
Beautiful (Feat. Winona Oak)
A nice simple start with a few synths & lyrics. The Overlapping lyrics with the driving drum beat was good. Layering of all the different textures and then going into a simple line drop was awesome.
Stuck In Orbit (Feat. BUOY)
The intro is similar to the previous two songs, very soft & nice lyrics. This song does feel extremely poppy though but it also definitely hits the feels.
Demons (Feat. Rome Fortune, Tommy Swisher)
I like this song has more of a hip hop/trap feel compared to the other songs before. The rapping & solo piano at 0:49 is awesome with the simple drumbeat behind it 🔥.
Goh (Feat. KLP)
Claiming this as my favorite song on this album, this song is a certified banger and everything about it is perfect. If you could give out a title for best trap song ever, this 100% takes it. Empowering vocals of KLP and I can definitely hear Skrillex’s influence.
We Keep On Running
Just the fact that he made a song with Toto is amazing. By this stage of the album, you can really tell that WSN has really thought about the artists and lyrics of each song, making them all tell an individual story. This song is definitely has an alternative rock vibe mixed in with new electronic vibe.
If You Only Knew (Feat. Daniel Johns)
A smooth classical piece outside of What So Not’s traditional production. Highlight of this track are the beautiful vocals by Daniel Johns accompanied with the flows and ebbs of a trap production.
Monsters (Feat. Michael Christmas, tobi lou)
This track really flows with me, as it focuses on pleasing hip hop fans. Reminds me of classic Frank Ocean tracks with an emotional instrumental that takes you on a journey and evokes real emotion.
This track has a real Chinese feel to the start, which quickly evolves into a sublime Trap banger. You can tell What So Not have spent time exploring new sounds and are not afraid to experiment outside what they know already works with their audience. I’m happy to say I do not consider this track a ‘filler’ and more so a progression to the more complicated tracks.
Same Mistakes (Feat. Daniel Johns)
I find this track to be quite sophisticated in a weird kind of way. It has strong character and I really like the use of the guitar in the buildup. The anti-drop was quite thrilling to hear only to then be taken back down with a amazing sample of vocals from Daniel Johns.
Us (Feat. Daniels)
A really strong finisher to the album, and one of my favorites. The vocals sitting alongside the backing drums and echos creates quite an emotional and inspirational feeling. Its only halfway through the track where the intensity ramps up a notch and you start to realise the album you just listened to has been one hell of a journey. The way What So Not uses this track to end the album off is quite superb, as if you are looking back on memories you have of a happy moment in your life.
Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite electronic albums that has come out in a long time. I love how each song has its own personality, and how you can hear the influence of each different guest producer or vocalist. The greatest thing about this album has to be WSN’s experimentation with song structure, which is something a lot of other artists producers can admire and learn to do more of. There isn’t your typical intro-build-drop-bridge-build-drop form in any songs, but instead WSN creates a free flowing unpredictable style that keeps you on your feet.
The only negative I would have about this album is it isn’t as cohesive as the divide and conquer EP, but I think that adds to the album and the individuality of the songs, so it can be seen in a positive light. Anyway WSN is hands down my favourite electronic artist / producer of all time, and this album proves his insane skills and he is truly such a great representation of Australian Electronic Music. Everyone should go and listen to this album from the beginning to the end, and then should by a ticket to his debut tour so they can listen to it live.