Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Colton Ford is doing something interesting with his latest album Glenn Soukesian. Of course, Colton Ford is the stage name since he built his fame around a storied career in the gay pornography industry. His real name, as it happens, is Glenn Soukesian. By naming his album after his real, given name, I see Ford as reaching back to his roots, getting back to himself through the eleven tracks that comprise this 2016 release. Indeed, on the first track of the album ‘Free Yourself’ he sings “you don’t have to worry, just free yourself.” With Glenn Soukesian, Colton Ford reclaims his own identity, now established and unabashed, confident and personal.
Glenn Soukesian offers something for everyone with a wide range of styles that Ford toys with, though they are linked by certain elements. Though classified as a club or dance house music singing act, this album brings out much more of an 80’s disco-pop feel than one might expect. Furthermore, Ford shows significant depth on tracks that showcase R&B and even soul influences on tracks like ‘Never Walk Away’. In fact, my favorite track off the set is Ford’s ‘R U Gonna’, on which he sings “are you gonna get up and leave or are you gonna stay here with me?” Honestly, this track very much evoked the early 2000’s sound of acts such as the Backstreet Boys or N’Sync. Ford’s range and sensuality is on display in this album, exhibited by the collage of styles he has fashioned together into rhythmic harmony.
Now fifty-four years of age, you might expect Ford’s lyrics to be more on the reflective, matured side, looking back on a storied career and a life heart-wrenchingly lived. Rather, this album seems to be Colton Ford’s personal bedroom playlist. There’s really no way around the inherent sexual tone of his songs and his throbbing, lingering vocals are simply the icing on the cake. The song ‘Back for More’ portrays perfectly the range that Ford is working with, keeping time with the electronic backbeat while stepping effortlessly between subdued alto vocals to a high-strung tenor.
I think the final track off the album, ‘Go with the Flow’ perfectly captures the project as a whole. This song, as with the whole album, features an upbeat, fast paced house-type background synths paired with Ford’s characteristically velveteen voice. Additionally, and also in keeping with the album at large, the song features lyrics with references to an ambiguous ‘you’, singing “when I call you on the phone, you’re never home, you’re always on the go.” Sure, in my opinion Ford’s lyrics leave a little to be desired. However, next time you’re trying to set the mood with that special someone, you can’t go wrong with Glenn Soukesian.