Singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis’ debut full length Things I Chose To Remember is a personal, introspective collection wrapped in vulnerability that’s both personal and relatable at the same time.
An album that offers an honest look into love, loss and living in the now, the Oxfordshire-born artist’s latest offering is as soulful as it is upbeat. Anchored by Lewis’ velvety vocals and expressive song writing, Things I Chose To Remember spans everything from heartbreaks and haunting sorrow to hopeful smiles and healing.
Opening with two his most recognisable and well-liked tracks, the melancholic yet optimistic “Better Than Today” and catchy heartbreak offering No Right to Love You”, the record immediately launches into an enraptured emotionality that seeps into each note 11-track production. Where tracks like “Better Than Today” lament and question the world we live in – inspired by everything from Trump to Brexit- other ballad-style offerings like “Be Your Man” and “When Was the Last Time?” journey through the far more intimate pain of a relationship on its last legs. Bittersweet words and soft melodies blend to tell a love story gone wrong that tugs at your heart strings. The track “What If” continues the story now pondering the end of a romance with regret and second thoughts.
On stand-out track “Lonely Place” Lewis’ once again sets to capture the acute sadness of losing a long-time soulmate. After delving into the depths of heartache on this soft, choir-infused arrangement, he breathes life back into everything lost on upbeat pop offering “Good People”, which explores the idea of gratefulness to those that remain in your life, in contrast to the mourning of the previous offering. With similarly light-hearted haziness come tracks like bluesy “Some Days” and guitar-led “Under the Sun,” establishing the record’s diverse musicality and thematic exploration.
Things I Chose to Remember moves through themes some world-wise and others self-reflective – with eco-conscious, almost apocalyptic closer “What Wild Things Were”, implores everyone to do better by the Earth we walk on, and “Hold On To Happiness” subverts the sombre narrative by urging you to live every day to your fullest. But even as it flutters through tales both intimate and otherwise, the album is most impressive for its ability to be root listeners to the spot with its immersive quality.
While mostly authentic in its attempts at telling thought-provoking stories, the album’s propensity towards breakup songs does get tired – because how many heart break tunes is too many? Despite this Rhys Lewis’ debut record is an easy and enjoyable listen.
Honest and inventive, the record that focuses on everything from loss of loved ones and inevitable endings to positivity and growth, accompanied by Lewis’ silky yet gravelly vocals,anthemic sonics and brilliant stories. Overall, Things I Chose To Remember grounds you with the gloomy reality but also encourages you to look forward with genuine hope.