Cecil Frena: The Gridlock Review

By Cheyenne Young
Music Journalist

Artist: Cecil Frena
Album: The Gridlock
Label: Hovercraft
Release Date: February 9,2018

Creator of both Gobble Gobble and Born Gold, Cecil Frena has been putting out music under different names for years. The Canada-born artist toured the country with his other groups until retreating into an isolation to create The Gridlock under his own name. In 2017, Frena began his solo project and released The Gridlock in February of 2018. In true Frena style, the album is very unique both lyrically and musically. With this album, Frena keeps to his electronic pop roots using a variety instruments and competing electronic sounds. Each track is saturated with sound and no song sounds quite like the other. Some tracks feature a heavier synth and are more overwhelming, while other tracks are slightly softer in sound. Frena’s music is very dancy and upbeat in nature even when the lyrics get quite dark.

Each of Frena’s songs has a different meaning and story that he tells. “My Good Grades” is particularly enthralling, as it immediately peaked my interest from the get-go. The track begins with Frena saying, “everybody on the floor/ don’t let me see you move an inch/ there’s four things worth dying for/ believe me none of them is this.” As the song carries out, he tells a story of thieving for money to pay the rent because even his good education can’t get him by. In “Unknow Yourself,” Frena yells, “I don’t wanna know who I am/ I don’t wanna know how I can” as he talks about not defining yourself and similarly, not allowing your past to define you. Frena’s song “Human Math” is an ode to his mother and almost comes across as an apology as he sings, “It’s not your fault I am this way,” and “swore I’d win at this and swore I’d do right by you/ but things don’t always go as we plan.” It’s a very emotion-filled and intimate song that sort of rips Frena open and allows you to see into him as a person more. The overall themes of life, purpose and self-discovery are omnipresent as the album goes on.

The Gridlock is just the latest in Frena’s string of projects, each one as creative and captivating as the other. I can only hope Frena will never lose his motivation to keep creating powerful music. Frena’s live shows are rumored to be highly energetic and out-there. I can’t wait to get to experience one for myself.

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