Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Heartbreak set to pop-rock music just works. There’s something about how sun-soaked music almost masks the heartbreak of lyrics. This contrast between the music and words works wonderfully on Allison Weiss’ sophomore record, Say What You Mean. These ten songs resonate with heartbreak and lost love. Even the gritty guitar tones, resonating bass lines, and upbeat vocal performance can’t mask the pains of heartbreak, and that’s what makes this record hit home.
Let’s get one thing straight though – Weiss is a rocker, not a pop star. “Making It Up” and “Nothing Left” both attest to this right off the bat, with a buzzing synth coupling with the concentrated bass line throughout the opener. On the former as Weiss croons, “Tell me that I’m making it up / And I’ll leave you alone” on top of all this layering, you start to get the feel of the entire record. The summery music can’t hide the heartbreak expressed in the lyrics, and that becomes the theme of this entire record.
“I Was An Island” makes a revamped return here, and features some one of the most memorable moments on the record (“I was a rebel / But I had a cause”) due to the pronunciation and fuzzy guitar. The track is a true gem yet again, with the later guitar solo further exercising Weiss’ skills as a musician. The equally impressive “How To Be Alone” follows, blending an ear-catching guitar riff with Weiss arguing with herself as she frantically sings, “I’m fine,” but then quickly follows by realizing, “I miss you all the time.” Moments like this express her internal battle, as the song echoes the pains of being pulled back and forth from missing someone and trying to escape them.
While Say What You Mean features a fair share of bubbly sounding jams, Weiss isn’t afraid to let her rock roots shine. A fuzzy guitar tone battles with the bass throughout “Hole In Your Heart,” while “Don’t Go” has her pleading to the point of near desperation. As the pace picks up throughout the track, the pleas quicken and Weiss quickens pace, and let me tell you, I’d be convinced to stay. In regards to song structure, it doesn’t get much better than this.
To top it all off, Weiss strips everything down at moments, and it’s as intricate as expected. Acoustic guitar strums couple with a violin on “Wait For Me” as Weiss sings, “I guess that it’s pointless / But I mean what I say / I never expected after all this time / That I could be okay.” I’ll be damned if that one doesn’t make you hit the rewind key. The final “I’ll Be Okay” works as a part two of “Wait For Me,” and it’s the perfect closer for this record. As Weiss closes this chapter on her life, the record ends in an unexpected place of understanding and growth: “I’ve got my guitar / And you’ve got your space / I’m stuck in this place / I kind of don’t mind it.” It’s a dark ending with a glimpse of light peering through the window as Weiss pleas, “I’ll be okay,” over a distanced synth build up.
So there you have it. Loss. Heartbreak. Pain. Acceptance. Ten tracks of Allison Weiss laying it all on the table and saying exactly what she means, holding nothing back. And we are listening to every word. You’ll sing along because it’s catchy, but you’ll push repeat because the lyrics are so personal. A record of heartbreak that ends with a glimpse of hope. That’s something we can all work with and relate to. That’s something that has resulted in one of the best records of the year with Say What You Mean.
The record is very straight forward and fun to listen to. Ms. Weiss and I did some touring back in October and I was floored every night by how amazing these songs are. The record is going to be a big "sleeper hit" with everyone, I'm sure.