Theatre of Homogeneity
When the opening chord of “”Light of the Day”” hits and Josh Haden’s creamy vocals come in, Devoted sets itself apart as different from most other records out today. The smooth lounge vibe cultivated by Haden in his production and composition, unlike that of many artists today, comes off as highly tailored and calculated rather than the random result of a shot in the dark.When “”Light of the Day”” comes to a close it reverberates as though a whole orchestra played yet only Haden’s vocals, a drum machine, an organ and (briefly) strings appeared on the track. Haden’s minimalist style plays into his personal, conversational lyrics. His songs have a certain theatrical quality in that the music is effectively mood-lighting for the stage on which Haden delivers his monologue.
ame “”Devoted”” starts with a drum machine on the same kit/delay setting and Haden sings about the same exact themes, going from “”I know this love is true / I promise I’ll come through”” on “”Light of the Day”” to “”You don’t believe I love you / No, you don’t think its true”” on “”Devoted.”” A musician cannot be faulted too much for doing the same thing on two songs but unfortunately, Haden does the same thing for most of Devoted.
ame The drum machine setting goes from interesting to irritating and his minimalism, which started out as an aesthetic choice, quickly creates an overwhelming sense that something is simply lacking. His theatrical drama and interest is sadly lost in his repetition, yet the sample-based closer “”Salvation”” ironically serves to save Haden’s record from banishment to the one-time-listen pile. Haden clearly has talent and hopefully will fully realize the extent of it in his future work.