Artist Quinn XCII stays grounded in his indie-pop roots
Singer-songwriter from Detroit, Michigan, Mikael Temrowski, known by his stage name Quinn XCII, released Change of Scenery II earlier in the year which is best described through its title. While the artist stayed true to his pop/indie-like sound for the most part, this project has shimmering moments of structural change in comparison to his previous albums.
The second track, “Distracted Youth,” once again implies its message through its name. Quinn explains his disappointment towards the younger generation of today, as he himself is young and witnessing others his age, with lyrics such as, “Nobody’s focused on the love/ We just want attention for no reason.” His melancholic vocals meshed with an acoustic guitar melody tell a story of discontent.
“My Wife & 2 Dogs” along with “Monday Morning” lean towards a more trendy pop tone as he entangles the track with catchy hooks and an instrumental worth dancing to. However, despite their similarity in sound, the central themes of the two songs are completely different from one another. “My Wife & 2 Dogs” speaks about coping mechanisms when feeling stuck or down, while “Monday Morning” is about a failed love interest.
Quinn repeats the same contemporary feel in “Stay Next To Me,” featuring pop singer-songwriter and producer Chelsea Cutler. Cutler’s high-pitched voice evokes a fun, ‘run through a field of sunflowers’ emotion, in a way that’s almost euphoric. On the contrary, “We Don’t Talk Enough” is much softer and more ballad-like. Its indie-pop feature, Alexander 23, incorporates his multi-instrumentalist skills as an acoustic guitar sways through their vocals.
Paying close attention to the composition of Change of Scenery II, the one major flaw of this project stands out: repetitiveness. A couple of tracks throughout use the same instrumentals, like “SOS” and “Hey, Goodbye,” for example. The electric guitar chords in both of these tracks are identical, which isn’t as noticeable in the first listen, but after a few replays, it becomes evident. While it seems apparent that Quinn put a lot of creative thought into this project, small hiccups like repetitive composition show the opposite of quality over quantity.
After observation of Quinn’s discography, it is clear he isn’t a huge experimental artist, and he sticks to what he knows. Change of Scenery II is evidence of how much he has perfected the indie-pop sound over the years but also shows room for possible improvement. The 12-track album is a necessary addition to his body of work as it shows gradual growth as an artist.