Allen Stone’s “Building Balance” is his latest full-length release, coming three years after Radius, his junior album. I first heard Allen when he made a surprise appearance during a Vulfpeck show back in 2016 at the Troubadour (one of my favorite venues of all time). Building Balance, for me, really solidifies Allen as a driving force in the music scene. While Radius had a handful of good songs on it, as an overall experience it felt… lacking. For me to want to see an artist perform live, I have to really dig most (if not all) of the songs on their latest album to justify buying the ticket – and I believe that this is the case for Building Balance. Save for one song (Back to the Swing – which seemed like it was an attempt of branching out a little bit – just didn’t do it for me. Sorry, Allen), I think this album is one of the best albums I’ve listened to this year.
The album starts off with “Brown Eyed Lover”, Allen’s strongest single that was originally released in 2018. It hits hard and strong, with a funky beat and catchy hooks throughout. It transitions smoothly into a dreamy and silky-smooth pre-chorus before hitting you hard again with the soulful chorus and is a fantastic intro to the album. “Sunny Days”, the next track, is perhaps a bit more melancholic and somber than the previous track, tiptoeing more into the R&B side of Allen Stone. We’re quickly whisked off to “Consider Me” and “Hold It Down”, which follow the similar soulful feeling that was introduced in “Sunny Days”.
In fact, most of the album seems to be a careful blend between R&B, soul, and singer/songwriter. Allen Stone’s musical composition is thoughtful, the lyrics are playful (good lord can this dude belt out some high notes).
I’d strongly encourage anyone to listen to this album who may be tired of the recent influx of predictable and boring R&B/Hip hop that’s been circulating throughout the industry lately. Anyone with a love for funk and soul – even those that may deny it – would dig this album front-to-back.
In its entirety, I give Building Balance a 4.5/5, and the perfect thing to warm you up this winter.
Try: 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11