Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ferras-Aliens & Rainbows (2008)


Extraterrestrial lifeforms and colorful sky formations—they kinda go together, don't they? Both originate from the same place, after all. The idea of living up somewhere among the stars and the cosmos may be frightening to some, but there's at least one person in the crowd who would bravely go where few men have gone before. His name is Ferras Mahmoud Alqaisi, a talented Jordanian-American pop/rock singer and songwriter who came to my attention not very long ago. And it's the title track here on Ferras's debut album that my opening statements alluded to—a confession of his desire to be alone with those extraterrestrial lifeforms and colorful sky formations. An interesting song with very colorful lyrics, vibrant personality and an excellent voice to match, just like the rest of the performances he gives throughout. "Liberation Day" had officially got me acquainted with Ferras's style; he's got that spirited MAROON 5/Daniel Powter thing going on here with the lively energy and the great sound. "Something About You" is something really special. Besides it being just a terrific jam, I love the metaphors given in the first couple of verses—'she was a snowflake; I was an earthquake' and 'she was a bright light; I was a fist fight'— plus the way he switches up the flow of the song towards the end with his spoken, I'm-telling-it-like-it-is style delivery of the lyrics. "Hollywood's Not America": an intelligently-written song where Ferras gives a reality check to the girl he sings about. And it's on this one where I first got to hear him showing off his versatile voice, reaching that fluttery high note at the singing of 'put your blue jeans back on'. He's keeping it real and true following that one with the next cut, "Everybody Bleeds The Same", which I personally favored, digging the peppy, dancey beat a lot! Those lush, tender piano ballads that I'm always a sucker for? Ferras delivers a beautiful one on "Rush", where he plays around with the metaphors again, describing how someone's love got him on an emotional high that he doesn't want to come down off of. "Soul Rock"—ironically, it's not about actual 'soul music' and 'rock music', as I had presumed, even though it's the style that Ferras presents all throughout this album. Instead, it's about a special person in his life who has been a rock-solid foundation in his life. And those sublime vocals of his make this tribute even more special. I especially love the jams where Ferras rocks it out hard, and that happens on "Blame, Blame, Blame", followed by the angst-driven "Dear God" (he's fed up with the way things in his life are and wishes Our Creator would intervene and make it all better) and "Don't Give Up", which arguably has one of the best hooks on this album. Ending the album nicely is the warming piano piece "Take My Lips"; if he hasn't already wowed you with his voice by the time you've heard all of the previous songs before it, then he'll certainly dazzle you and your ears with this one:

1. Liberation Day
2. Aliens & Rainbows
3. Something About You
4. Hollywood's Not America
5. Everybody Bleeds The Same
6. Rush
7. My Beautiful Life
8. Soul Rock
9. Blame, Blame, Blame
10. Dear God
11. Don't Give Up
12. Take My Lips

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