"For Those I Love" is an incredible album worth every bit of your attention. It does not disappoint.
Now for a slightly more in depth look.
First, a slight disclaimer:
I've been following Ian McDaniel ever since I first had the pleasure of hearing his music at the University of Alabama several years ago. The first time I saw Ian live gave me chills and if you ever get the chance to see him, I highly recommend it. To say the least, I am a fan.
Now onto the review:
Ian McDaniel brings an infectious energy to every project he is involved in, and his debut album is no exception. Each track is unique and refreshing, but they all share this energy. The album's single release of "Fall Leaves" serves as a great introduction to the body of work that follows. After that some personal favorites from this album include the following. "Relax" features mellow tones and comedic elements that while genuine feel like more of a commentary on society and music than laugh out loud funny. "You Can't Stop The Funk" brings a more aggressive groove and vocal tone which is incredibly refreshing and hits harder than most songs in recent memory. "Find Your Truth (For Daniel)" is an introspective foil to some of the album's more aggressive tracks, and it almost brought me to tears. "Love, Cry, Wait..." is an altar call, and a powerful one at that. It left me with goosebumps. These may be some of my favorites, but don't be deceived, the entire album is extremely well done.
All of the tracks across the album share the same characteristics of unique beats, high production quality, and flowing clever lyrics that play with the English language as well as penetrate the psyche. In layman's terms, each song is a jam, and there is something on this album for everyone! The other featured artists on the album each bring their own unique flavor to those tracks, but their work serves the music. I know it may seem like I am giving this album high praise, but I truly cannot fathom what to criticize here.
In summary, you should buy this album. You should support this artist. You should support this art. "For Those I Love" is a gem from an up-and-coming artist, and one day, I know, that he will be selling out arenas, and I'll be holding a ticket. Ian McDaniel is the real deal.
Right now you can purchase this album from Bandcamp (link below). It is worth every bit of the traditional album of price of $10-$15; However, the artist has it listed as a $1 minimum. Let me be clear. There is NO EXCUSE not to pick this up for that price. I personally purchased it for $10, and I would suggest that you do the same. It is worth every single cent. The album is also available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and other sources, but Bandcamp is the best way to support the artist directly.
After you give the album a listen, let me know what you think down in the comments, and feel free to show Ian some love at Ian McDaniel Music on Facebook and Instagram!