(ReviewYou.com staff writer)
Bertone is no means a newcomer to the music business. He released his first album in 2005 and obviously, writers block is not much of an issue. Most mainstream artists only release an album about every two or three years. Not so with Bertone. He has a lot of music in him and does not hesitate to release these songs to his fans.
Back Drop is Dropjaw’s 16th solo album and includes a variety of different styles. Opener, “What Keeps You Smiling,” is a kind of acoustic reggae song. It even includes a lovely vibraphone solo on it which also gives it a bit of a jazz feel.
One song even has a hippy, nature-loving theme. “Mother Nature’s Children” begins with Bertone asking, “What’s the world coming to?” Later, during the chorus he advises, “Mother Nature’s children come home.” Although it has a back-to-nature theme to it, the song also takes on a more universal theme – that of universal unity.
Songs like “Survival,” also brings Bertone back – lyrically – to a socially conscious vibe. He really does come off like a throwback to the 60s era in music, when songwriters were more concerned about saving humans and the planet rather than sex, drugs and rock & roll.
However, Bertone does sing a straight out love song with “Coming Back to You.” Built upon a driving keyboard and electric guitar groove, he describes a dedicated desire to get back with a true love. It’s the sort of song that if you were the recipient of its message would make you seriously consider getting back with this guy. Bertone sings it with such sincerity he comes off nearly irresistible.
Lyrically, Bertone comes across as a positive guy. Even though something like “Mother Nature’s Children” sends a sort of concerned warning, little here paints him as a downer. He’s ultimately a guy that believes good will conquer evil – or such is the impression with this album. “Hell Or High Water,” for instance, is a bit like a self-help manual put to song. It speaks of personal determination. “Come hell or high water, nothing will ever bring me down,” he announces on the chorus over an electric guitar riff. It could apply to any listener that might feel like there are people trying to put or keep them down. Sometimes we just need to say it out loud – that we can overcome the negative influences in life. This song is just such a positive affirmation.
Dropjaw Bertone makes some nice, optimistic music, and Back Drop is a worthy example of what he does best.
Review By: Dan MacIntosh