Brett Vogel – Never Giving Up
Brett Vogel, a young singer/songwriter based out of the Los Angeles area, has released an eleven song collection entitled Never Giving Up. In one fashion or another, each of the album’s tracks deal with enduring adversity, self-created or otherwise. The songs are given impressive pop punch with production emphasizing Never Giving Up’s strong drumming and Vogel’s individualistic vocals. There are hints of him finding a signature style scattered throughout the running order, but there are some under-developed tracks here that don’t come close to realizing their potential. Vogel puts himself out there as a firm believer in music’s redemptive power, but the songs lose their focus sometimes and end up probably too personal for his audience to fully appreciate their beauty.
The eight months he spent recording this album show immediately. “When You’re Lonely” is an unusual piece and bristling with creativity. The driving tempo and attention-grabbing union of pop energy with classical instrumentation helps set the track apart, but Vogel’s singing performance gives the song its own distinctive quality. There’s melody to burn in this song and the follow-up, “Never Giving Up”. The album’s title track picks up steam from the first bar and the instantly memorable chorus lingers thanks to the clear musicality underpinning the song.
“California Take Me Away” is probably one of the album’s thematic centerpieces as it explores larger themes of isolation and loneliness on a wider sonic canvas. The plodding tempo gives the song an extra layer of grandeur. “I Miss the Snow” is another of the aforementioned set pieces that fill Never Giving Up’s emotional center. Vogel sings with particular passion that elevates an otherwise unspectacular, if not outright ordinary, song. “In Too Deep” might cause some to snicker, but Vogel clearly follows the Joni Mitchell/Leonard Cohen school of songwriting that encourages artists to harvest their own lives for material. It can lead to lasting moments of intimacy when an artist’s revelations transform the mundane and everyday into something that speaks to the human experience in a larger way.
Brett Vogel’s sophomore effort shows a lot of development from the first release, but his blooming hasn’t finished. Instead, this is the work from an artist in progress and for every glimpse of the future we see, Vogel reminds us how far he has to go before consistent greatness arrives. Never Giving Up shows his abundant talent, but isn’t essential listening.