Branden Stansell: “Dear John” Album Review

Written By: Edward Ramjuse from Kenya

Dear John by Branden Stansell was a well-developed album and strong ideas were effectively translated perfectly to beautiful songs. Branden has made truly beautiful music from inner turmoil and cultural analysis. It had all the qualities to be considered one of the most moving albums of the year 2015. It is so refreshing to hear a great country artist that’s gay! The songs all have a tragic but beautiful narrative. The album which was released in 2015 has 6 songs in total: Dear John, Just getting Started, I Can’t Do This Anymore, Aftermath, Stranger, and If I Never Loved You.

My favorite song is Dear John. The song is very emotional and  painful. The video added a new dimension to an already beautiful song. Thank you for creating and sharing it, the chorus is vast enough to have its own postcode, but it sings of affective exhaustion. It’s just that “Dear John” is a love song, and every reference to gender, race and nationality is a single drop of rain beating a path to the ocean of that person will not ever love you the way that you love them.

This particular album is arranged in such a way that throws you into that Dear John mood Branden wanted you to feel when he was writing the music. Branden’s voice added to the emotion by being just as captivating and emotional. Branden’s voice in the song is deep with emotion, and we can confidently say that the guitar is clearly Branden’s weapon of choice when it comes to music. The guitar reverb was agreeably intense, supported by dreamy vocals, not dissimilar to the eerie wails of War paint. It comes from a place of unadulterated hurt, the kind that you start to couch in terms of bereavement, because the lexicon of love is too pitifully inane to capture its spread. Branden’s lyrics were drawn from personal experience, allowing him to purge his feelings and give himself some breathing room. The catching phrase to me in this song is: his kiss might take me back to you but i’m gonna try to love somebody new” totally reminded me of my ex.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the album had been intended to  head, when I first heard it, it took me on a stormy journey of a broken heart trying to move on – and why would it  not be a beautiful, well written album at the same time? Like all great songwriters, though, what elevates this album is not just the quality of the words and music on display, but his ability to combine them in such a way that lends grace to the moments of levity, and weight to its ballast. “Dear John” is undeniably the highlight. It is clear that Branden is indeed a growing talent in music with more to say, and if this album is anything to go by he will say it with depth and honesty. We need more like him

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