Album Review: Will Newman – Requiem to Who I Used to Be

Requiem to Who I Used to Be is UK alternative pop artist Will Newman’s second album release. It’s a deeply personal story of grief, trauma and resilience told through a mix of hip hop, soul, pop and indie rock. An intriguing prospect, I just had to give it a listen.

By Graeme Smith

Will has been through it. Battling addiction, PTSD and a personality disorder, Will eventually faced a suicide crisis. Yet, from these dark days, a thing of beauty has been born and Requiem to Who I Used to Be chronicles he move to a better place across its sixteen tracks.

The album opens with You Always Made Me Feel At Home. A bright and ambient intro welcomes you in and develops into a warm yet pensive electronic pop arrangement that rises and falls pleasantly. Sick of Waiting on Life follows with a retro groove, soulful vocals and biting lyrics. Faded is a sultry anti-love pop song. Wasted Time provides an early highlight with its vulnerable, stripped-back verses and powerful, emotional choruses.

Pills is a jangly blues rock number that reaches a sweeping climax while I Don’t Care is a brooding, anthemic, synth-led moment. Over The Top takes the album into hip hop territory with rapped, flowing verses and bright keys before we reach a percussive instrumental Interlude.

Already Said Goodbye is dreamy, melancholic soft rock. If I Don’t brightens the mood with philosophical lyrics and a throwback pop style. Counting Down is darkly funky and romantic, and has a killer guitar solo at its heart. It’s My Turn is cautiously buoyant. Still Got Aways To Go is a bittersweet final chapter that starts understated before building to a cathartic crescendo.

The album is then completed by stripped versions of Wasted Time, Pills and It’s My Turn.

It take a lot of bravery to put yourself out there like Will Newman has done in Requiem to Who I Used to Be, and the way Will has combined his story with a rich blend of genres and emotional instrumental arrangements is commendable. Will’s second album is a thoughtful one, and, based on it, it’s easy to see why he’s getting support from BBC Radio and across the blogosphere. He’s one to watch.

You can check out Requiem to Who I Used to Be below.