Adam Wexler: What I'm All About
A Review

19 May 2006
By Jase Luttrell
United States of AmericaSalt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

Adam Wexler: What I'm All AboutThe six songs on Adam Wexler's debut release, What I'm All About, feature a mature 23-year-old New Yorker who has only been sculpting his craft for a few short years, all while attending law school at New York University. The album is far from perfect, but Adam has considerable talent and shows promise. If music doesn't work out for his life career, he will always have his law degree to fall back on.

Released in May of 2005, What I'm All About features Adam Wexler as co-producer, songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist. All of the other instruments, such as the drum programming, and synthesizers, are played by Dean Bohana. Each song exhibits fast-paced, straightforward lyrics, with strong, quick guitar work. For the most part, the songs are about his life, specifically the mistakes he feels he has made, and how he has grown from those experiences and how he finds the motivation to move forward.

Adam has an interesting baritone voice. He is able to enunciate a string of words quickly and clearly for every verse and chorus of his songs. His range is limited, and because of this, his background vocals and harmonies subsequently suffer from this limitation. Adam's voice is nasalised slightly, and it sounds as if he needs to open his throat to eliminate the constricted sound his voice produces. Some of these characteristics work to his advantage: a baritone voice is not heard in the mainstream music scene often, and though his voice sounds constricted, he maintains a solid tone throughout the album. His quick lyrics and singing style ensure that his music is catchy, and also forces the listener to pay attention, otherwise they will miss large sections of the lyrics because of their speed. With some vocal instruction and practice, his voice will improve greatly, and people who shun him for his amateur vocal style (most likely people who watch too much American Idol) will likely take notice of his strong voice.

The music features the acoustic or electric guitar, but no instrument is dominant in any song. This is a tactful choice: Adam wants listeners to hear what he has to say, not the chord combinations he utilises for any particular song. However, because there are no instrumentals or strong musicianship displayed, each song sounds similar; the songs are all a fast-paced series of words lasting, on average, four minutes long. The songs would benefit from a quick instrumental break, simply to determine that, yes, Adam Wexler is indeed a musician, but also to give the listener a much-needed contrast between lyrics and music.

In every song, What I'm All About attempts to present the listener with a full-band sound, but the use of synthesizers and drum machines betray that attempt. "What I'm All About", the first track off the album, features a synthesized violin. The actual notes and violin part are well written, but because of the technical limitations of the synthesizer used, the result is a fake string sound, which would, of course, sound much better with an actual violin. On "The Life I Didn't Want" Wexler again uses a synthesized sound to no avail. The result is a sound comparable to an awkward 80's sample, which doesn't fit the guitar-based rock rhythms. This song also uses a drum machine with a bizarre rhythmic fill to end the song. This rhythmic fill doesn't fit the rest of the song, but it might sound better if it were a real drum set and not something programmed.

Even with these synthesized discrepancies, there are plenty of moments when the synthesizer and drum machine is used effectively and appropriately. In "Moved On" a piano is used mainly as a rhythmic fill for the verses but, during the choruses, cascading chord flourishes create an interesting, almost hypnotic background to the swift lyrics. "See Things Differently" also uses a similar rhythmic piano arrangement in its verses. Unfortunately, there are no changes in volume or rhythm, and "See Things Differently" chugs along until the abrupt ending. The song is only four minutes long but it seems considerably longer because of this monotony.

"All Night Long" is another example of a song that uses the drum machine and the synthesizer effectively. The synthesized hand drums and bass guitar are sultry and match the lyrics and message of the song. This is a very straightforward song about sex, and isn't recommended for younger listeners. It is not terribly dirty or trashy, but doesn't put forth the best message: "you know it's always on my mind... you know what I want to do tonight to you." The most risqué line involves the words "moving", "up and down", and "thigh". If you do the math, I'm sure you can guess the line.

An electric guitar is used in "The Life I Didn't Want" and "All Was Wrong". In "The Life I Didn't Want", the electric guitar is a nice change from the previous four acoustic-based songs, but the sound of the electric guitar is muffled, and the notes and chords are indistinct. The song also features a fast, but monotonous rap, the lyrics of which seem juvenile, though they are in a driving rhythm and push the song's tempo. In contrast, the electric guitar in "All Was Wrong" is distinct and perfectly matches the synthesized, pulsing bass guitar. Unfortunately, the electric guitar becomes indistinct in the chorus, but the chorus uses rhythm fills that coincide with the syllabic structure of the lyrics, which effectively breaks up any monotony in the song. If the distortion on the electric guitar were stronger, louder, and of a different quality than the sounds used in "The Life I Didn't Want", this song would be stronger.

Overall, Adam Wexler puts forth a simple, straightforward album that is accessible, and it is a strong effort. His lyrics are perfectly apt and accessible, and easily convey his message. With some work on his voice, a change in the use of the synthesized sounds, and some more definitive musical and rhythmic arrangements, Adam Wexler will have a bright future ahead of him as a performer and recording artist. If this doesn't work out for him, he still has a law degree as his Plan B.

brainwavez.org Opinion
Rating: 5/10
Key Facts (Review Copy)
Artist: Adam Wexler
Title: What I'm All About (Audio CD)
Label: None
Release Date: 23 May 2005 (US)
Genre: Rock, Pop, Acoustic

Track Listing:
1. What I'm All About ... 03:51
2. Moved On ... 05:01
3. All Night Long ... 04:29
4. See Things Differently ... 04:05
5. The Life I Didn't Want ... 04:16
6. All Was Wrong ... 03:20

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