Dan Israel is one of those local names I have heard time and time again but never had a chance to check out so I was excited when his new album ‘Social Media Anxiety Disorder’ hit my stack of albums to review. I read through the press release I got with the album before putting it into my CD player and was shocked to read that this was his 15th studio album. Maybe shocked isn’t the right word but I was definitely surprised and nothing short of impressed. I kept that in mind as I pushed play on my stereo and, although I had never heard his music before, I had high expectations for this album since he has clearly been doing this for awhile.
I instantly fell in love as the opening track “Be My Girl” started pumping through my speakers. It has an almost old time feel to it while still coming off as completely modern. Dan’s voice felt familiar but also felt unique which is exactly what can be said about the instrumentation on this first track as well. Chugging guitars and a steady drum beat with horns in the background as Dan’s voice danced over the instrumentation. To say this opening track was fun and instantly caught my attention would be an understatement.
“125” brings an almost surf rock vibe through my speakers. It is an easy listening song that, again, demands your attention regardless of what you are doing or what you intent to do was. I was trying to get caught up on dishes but this song had me doing more just standing and nodding my head to the beat than actually scrubbing the plates. The easiness of this track had me in a California state of mind. Sure, the sun shining through my windows helped that but this is the kind of song that I would love to blare while driving with the top down of the car I will never be able to afford up and down and Pacific Coast Highway. That California surf rock vibe stays true for “Just Can’t Take It” but there’s a new, almost jam band like element that takes over for this song. Again, a perfect song to absolutely lose yourself in, this song may be one of the shortest songs on this twelve song album but that didn’t stop me from eating up every second of the two minute, fifty eight second song a couple of times over again.
As the album moved into “Still I’m Lost” the vibe changed yet again. Like the clear professional he is, Dan Israel still had elements in every single song that screamed his name but in “Still I’m Lost” there was a sense of darkness that took over the bright pop vibe that had been king in the previous three songs. Although still upbeat, there was something almost painful that was conveyed through Dan’s voice and the slower paced instrumentation. Even when the band comes in behind Dan’s vocals and produces a sense of power, there’s still this underlying feeling of emotion and pain that refuses to be covered up. This feeling leads into “Might As Well Be Me” in the most perfect way. I love the beginning of this song more than words can describe. The words, the styling, the guitar behind the words… everything about the beginning of this song was perfect. Hell, this entire song is perfect and instantly became my favorite on the album. As a lyric lady, this song hit me right in the perfect place. I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will say if you find yourself alone at you apartment on a Sunday morning after spending the night before as a third wheel for the one millionth time, this song is for you. It’ll give you hope and a sense of optimism that you didn’t think was possible for a Sunday morning.
The mood shifts again in a perfect way as the album moves into “Another Day”. Back to that California vibe that had me just sitting at my desk and soaking in the sun coming through my windows, this song brought that carefree vibe laid out in the first couple of songs to the forefront. The guitar solo in this track really stood out. There was no rush in the solo to play as many notes as possible like so many other solos try to do, instead there was a sense of deliberate artistry that came off as stunning. It was a shock as the album moved into “Just Can’t Take It Revisited” which features Dan speaking about what he wants to do with his music as we are reminded of the third track “Just Can’t Take It” as it overpowers him talking. Although this wasn’t a “true track” and more of just an interlude of Dan’s talking and a remix of “Just Can’t Take It”, I loved the personality that this track brought to the album and loved the look inside of Dan’s brain. I also loved the revisit to the song only this time with a little more funk and attitude to it. I listened to this a couple of times trying to catch as much as I could from Dan’s narrative and, within no time, this track became a favorite of mine regardless of how unconventional it is.
“Tired” was a big change to get after this upbeat and funky “Just Can’t Take It Revisited” but, at this point, I had been used to stark differences in styling between songs from Dan. “Tired” brought a more classic singer-songwriter vibe to the album although even that’s a stretch to say. There’s a robustness about this song that should feel so wrong but sounds so right. The switch between “Tired” and track nine “Alright” is another thing that should feel so wrong but sounds so right. Again with a dramatic change in the mood, “Alright” brings an almost soulful bluesy vibe to it. The kind of song that you would want blasting while you gossip with your friends on a front porch with the sun shining down on you ad a couple of cold drinks in hand, this track is nothing short of groovy and had me moving around behind my desk like a damn fool.
A classic rock n’ roll sound takes over for “Here For Today”. There’s a gritty element to this song that has yet to be heard on this album. That grittiness has a way of coming off a little southern but I wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s something country about this track. The mix of sliding guitars and Dan’s almost voice that has an almost twangy aspect to it for certain songs, this may be one of the last tracks on the album but it’s clear that Dan still has some tricks up his sleeve. “Out Of My Hands” is one of those final tricks. The grittiness of “Here For Today” is replaced with a soothing yet interesting and upbeat vibe that brought back a very classic feel to it. The easy listening vibe that was laid out for the first couple of songs comes back with a vengeance and, again, I found myself getting completely lost in this song.
‘Social Media Anxiety Disorder’ closes with “Out of My Heads (Reprise)”. I don’t even have the words to explain how perfect of an ending this is to this already perfect album. All I can tell you is you have to listen to this album in it’s entirety and, by the time this track spills out of you speakers, you too will be lost for words.
I’ve been sleeping on Dan Israel for too long. That stops now. I was overwhelmed by this album and plan on giving up on all my plans for cleaning my apartment today to dig into his discography and eat up every release he has ever put out there.
My Favorite Track(s): “Might As Well Be Me”; “Just Can’t Take It Revisited”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 8.2 out of 10
For Fans Of: Sunny Weather; Driving With The Top Down; Carefree Living
Dance-ability: 8.4 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis laid on the couch; Autumn slept on my new uber-soft comforted on my bed in the other room
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9.6 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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