Take It Slow is the emotional new album from Georgensgmünd, Germany-based acoustic folk pop singer songwriter Michael Lane. Inspired by other musicians in the genre, the album is a personal exploration for him. Here’s my track by track review.
By Graeme Smith
Feature Photo by Tobias Mochel
The album starts with its bright and uplifting title track. Infused with a joyous acoustic guitar riff, its quiet opening expands into a layered chorus. Michael’s soulful vocals are at their most compelling there, delivering a message of patience and self-kindness. It’s just the tonic for the end of a stressful day.
If Michael’s music is light-hearted, his life has been anything but. As a young US soldier, he fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and witnessed the cruelty of war first-hand. His music is a way of processing the emotion, and the uplifting message of his tracks is a way of finding the happy among all the sadness in the world. Track two Good Times is an eloquent case in point. Its bright, folky instrumental arrangement hides the deeper meaning of the lyrics around the dangers of masking emotion.
Ladybug (Sunset Mix) comes next, a lovingly gentle song infused with imagery. I was reminded a little of Yousef Islam while listening. It introduces the theme of homecoming, which is continued through Coming Home. The latter is also steeped in natural imagery and the two tracks work perfectly as a couplet.
Fire In The Night showcases Michael’s at perhaps their most beautiful. Isolated against a quiet backdrop of guitar and simple percussion during its opening, the track explodes to life during its chorus. It’s a beautifully put-together song and acts as a mid-album highlight.
Entering the album’s second half, the introspective Moment comes next. It feels a little like a meditation, as if Michael is talking to himself in the lyrics, in an attempt to find a moment of zen. Open Road is, by contrast, is outward-looking, full of story and a sense of place. Moon & Sun has a similar sense of openness, continuing the themes of nature and self-reflection.
I reached the album’s final two tracks feel remarkably calm and light. The textured penultimate track Be Still added yet another element to Michael’s sound that felt perfectly placed. Then the organic edit of Take It Slow rounded things off nicely, returning us to where we started and reiterating the album’s central message – love yourself and let others love you.
It’s so great that Michael has been able to distil his experiences into this body of work, and took the time and effort to share it with the world. It’s much appreciated. Take It Slow is an album I’ll be returning to every time I need a lift. I hope you’ll get something from it to. You can check it out below.