AW finds her happy place
Alison Wonderland, also known as Alex Sholler, had fans anxiously awaiting the release of her second album Awake after her debut album Run made huge waves in the EDM community. The Sydney-born, LA-based artist spent years DJing clubs in banana suits, but through her honest, gripping music, AW has secured playing sold-out festivals to thousands of adoring fans. Awake is a strong sophomore album, featuring dynamic collaborations with artists such as Trippie Redd and Chief Keef.
Awake’s creation came from a dark place. A bout of deep depression led AW to find inspiration in the things hurting her the most. Listening to the album, it is crystal clear where the depth of the lyrics come from; there’s an honesty and energy that is truly genuine. AW experiments with her sound, exploring moods and textures that show growth as an artist. Awake connected with fans, who found solace and support in her ability to be vulnerable.
“The album was a very honest wake up call for me,” AW states. “Whilst writing it, I made actual changes in my life, because I was realizing so much through the songs. I really pushed myself for this album lyrically and sonically, and I feel totally cleansed coming out of it.”
Opening track “Good Enough” starts off with a creeping, pulsing beat and eases into a soft melody of AW’s signature cello playing, a unique strength in her sound. Fan favorite “Easy” is a poppy, defiant ballad, exposing AW’s fear of being unlovable that makes for one of the most memorable tracks on the album.
Immediately following, “High” featuring Trippie Redd gives the album dimension, adding a layer of hip-hop over a simple, beautiful melody. Leading single “Church” is another fan favorite, with AW cutting deep with raw opening lyrics, “I don’t know where I should begin/ All this time that I’m putting in/ Build me up just to bring me down/ ‘Cause you don’t want me to take the crown.” The track “Happy Place” represents everything Awake is attempting to communicate; it embraces her true EDM influences. The lyric “Fuck me up on a spiritual level” has become a popular tagline with fans.
Awake is cohesive, an expertly crafted album illuminating the ups and downs of mental illness, heartache and the pains of growing up and moving on. Awake is 14 tracks of honesty, a direct communication between AW and her fans. Quoting a post from the artist’s Instagram, where she states, “For anyone doubting themselves right now. Be yourself. Be the best version of you that YOU can be. It’s ok to question things. We all do it. But questioning things means you actually care. It means deep down u wanna move forward. Keep it moving. We all have our own pace.” It’s an album that confronts and comforts, showing emotional depth and an artist’s growth. It’s an album beckoning to be listened to on repeat, a soundtrack for moving forward in 2018.