Review: Willamena – Broken Songs A Compilation

“Learn how to love yourself. ‘Cause if you don’t then why should someone else…lay their heart out on a line for you?” – Long Shot by Willamena

Broken Songs: A Compilation is a collection of songs that have been written and completed over the span of a wonderful career from Willamena.

With many popular radio singles under their belt, Willamena is all about capturing the heart of their music and not leaving a good tune behind.

In the process of rescuing songs from their vault, Willamena created several new tracks as well to accompany their previous work. A admirable and wonderful effort that pays off so well for the album as a whole.

Chad Hendrickson shared with me a few details of the album and some tracks specifically that we will touch upon in this article. Speaking on how this album came to be, Chad shared: “This album started with a desire to look into the recording vaults for songs that we discarded along the way.”

One of those songs in question ” I Know Nothing” was such a song that was rescued from the vault and became the opening track for this album.

I Know Nothing – A fun start to an amazing compilation of songs! With that soft rock/indie vibe ringing through the instrument section to the gritty and vivid vocals that paint a beautiful picture of nothing staying the same. The character in this song definitely see’s everything and nothing at the same time because of the ever changing circumstances of the world around.

With my personal take aside, Chad shared more about the songs and how each song has a character and the development of them throughout each track: “The characters in the stories all build themselves up and overcome. New perspectives are gained throughout the album. The characters in the songs learn from mistakes and grow throughout the songs.” – Chad Hendrickson

This World – A track that speaks to everyone at some point. Self reflection while healthy, can also bring regrets and hindsight issues. But if we pull our head out of the sand as the song goes, we may see that the world isn’t as grim as we painted it.

I’d like to share some insight on this song from Chad: “Starting out down on himself for not making $…but then accepting a new paradigm. A new, positive view of the world.”

With these past 2 years [2020-2021] There have been many ups and often more downs to things but every now and again, it’s good to step back and not let every day worries dominate the picture of what can be a wonderful life.

Empty Ocean – Another track that talks about looking back on a longer life and what was accomplished, and what was missed. I am so in love with this track as it’s relaxing, thought provoking, and all around just pleasant on the ears.

Black Waltz – This song… it’s vibrant instrumentally and haunting with the minimal amount of instruments included. The Harmonic sections are so lively and match with the lyrics.

Another bit of knowledge from Chad: “Empty Ocean was written in a few minutes. Putting the rest of the tune together took longer but the basic tune was written very quickly in Kalamazoo, MI a while back. This tune is about someone who pursued material things like $ over the finding of true love and regretted that decision later. The main character’s life became an empty ocean that could have been filled with his love. I like that idea. Love as redemption in the end. Love as savior.”

Lyrically, Black Waltz inspires you to appreciate and experience things you thought you wouldn’t like previously. With the grace and honor Chad Hendrickson shares some insights into this track: “”I used to feel like a dead man, but now I dream like a young men…watch the colors as they fade away…I’m coming home.”
I also love the bridge on this one…”I used to think I was lucky, I never used to love love songs. I used to walk…but now I run…I’m running back home.” I LOVE how that bridge play in that tune and how it fits into the album.”

Something Like Religion – a live recording that you would never know is! It’s fun and groovy, the reverb of vocals and instruments to the AMAZING harmonics and punk rocky guitars near the end sections, Something Like Religion is just a absolute joy to hear in one take!

Another bit of info from Chad: “Something Like Religion…I LOVE the Who vibe on this one. This is a searching song and that theme is big on this album. Luke and I wrote this one 20+ years ago. Searching for something you can hold on to. Something that feels real. Making mistakes, drinking too much beer and smoking too many cigarettes. Searching for the next move. That feels right and true to me. “

Artists like Willamena who take the time to paint us pictures of characters and the obstacles they face and how they overcome is such a rare and hard to accomplish art form. I love the idea of each song having it’s own unique story and character that takes away something positive!

As we look at Broken Songs A Compilation as a whole, the tracks saved and the tracks that were born from that rescue all line up and match and compliment one another as each track has amazing layers of clean instruments, wide ranging vocals, mix of rock edge and indie vibes this is all around a album for a clear summer view in my eyes.

Imagine if you will, the end of a long season and thinking back on what has been quite the adventure, you play this album on whatever device you own and turn it up and just sit back and think, enjoy, and find a message that speaks to you on a deeper level!

For more information on Willamena, please visit theor official website!

About contrastcontrol

I'm James. A writer and musician trying to find new ways to express my views on music and to help out bands who can't get featured in many places. My goal is make this site the best possible and provide top notch content for you, the reader.

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