By: Brittany Godwin
Artist: Night Beds
Label: Dead Oceans
Release Date: August 7, 2015
The once known folk artist, Night Beds, has made a career altering transition with his 2015 album, Ivywild. Night Beds, formally known as Winston Yellen, has received much praise as well as scrutiny for his bold transition into pop R&B. Yellen made his first album debut with Country Sleep where he composed a folk-ish indie rock album, comparable to the sounds of Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes. With a two year period between the release of his first and second album, it is clear Yellen took a great amount of time to transform and advance his sound. Immediately after listening to the first few seconds of Ivywild it is apparent that this album is going to have little to no resemblance of Country Sleep.
Yellen ironically begins the album with “Finished” setting a melancholy tone for the intro with drawn out beats and synthesized vocals. This album and Yellen’s newly pronounced sound has a great resemblance to the Weeknd when it comes to his rhythm as well as lyrics (and even a strange similarity to his vocals with a twist of James Blake). The content of his lyrics resembles someone going through a breakup and/or self-sabotaging through sex, drugs and alcohol. I particularly enjoyed the track “Melrose”. Throughout the album there are many songs that have the same beats and drawn out lyrics, but I appreciated how Yellen made this track unique by incorporating raw acoustics. “All in Good Company” was another track that caught my attention. I thought that this track was a perfect combination of Ivywild and Country Strong because it had the same basic sound as the rest of the album but incorporated the old instrumentals from Country Strong.
Over all I thought that the album was adequately produced. Did I fall in love with it? No, but I have a huge appreciation for Winston Yellen and the whole concept of the album. As connoisseurs of music we rarely see an artist take a total plunge into a different genre of music, much less a transition from folk to R&B pop. Though this is not the ‘pop album of the year’, we have to acknowledge and commend Night Beds for their multitude of musical talents, straying from their original sound and comfort zone, and the ability to produce an album with such diversity.