Review: Rostam — Half-Light

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 1:42 PM
Review: Rostam — Half-Light by Dakota Palmer

Former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmaglij, known as Rostam, released his debut album “Half-Light” last week. The album, while standing out from Vampire Weekend’s work, feels as though it’s more of a sequel of the band’s most recent album, “Modern Vampires of the City.” More specifically, “Half-Light” sounds like a younger brother of the song “Young Lion” from VW’s album; this is mainly because Rostam wrote both the music and the lyrics for that song.

Rostam’s album is very…relaxing, in an odd, and not positive way. The music is calm, carefree and almost hypnotizing. It also is not something I would listen to unless I was doing homework or performing an activity that requires me to pay close attention. Basically, Rostam’s album is better as background noise than it is an album.

The first track, “Sumer,” starts the album off on an upbeat note with the first few measures, and then once the vocals start, the song immediately becomes boring and mundane. Not that Rostam doesn’t have a magical voice, because he does, but the vocals mixed with the instrumentals just create something that isn’t exciting or new. If that’s what he’s going for, then good for him; however, I don’t think he was.

“Bike Dream” is the only exception to the above criticism. This song has a rhythmic, fast beat while paired with vocals that don’t make you want to fall asleep. This is definitely the best song on the album and has a positive summery-vibe to it.

The title track is very slow and reminds me of a song that would play at the end of a romantic movie where the couple didn’t end up together. That, or a song that would play after someone got their heart broken and they’re reflecting on their life and their choices.

“Never Going To Catch Me” is another song that lacks the punch that can really make the album great. Using a variety of string instruments, the song’s composition is well-done, but again, the vocals and instrumentals don’t mesh well to create something that is unique. In fact, in each of the songs, Rostam sounds like he is either smiling while he’s singing, which produces a weird sound that doesn’t match the instrumentals. Additionally, his voice is muffled in each of the songs.

“Don’t Let It Get To You,” like “Bike Dream,” succeeds in being a song that is interesting in every aspect. We start the song with a very cool electronic drum beat, followed by a flute solo, which is then paired with upbeat vocals, which is finalized by a bonkers piano riff in the bridge. Overall, this song is definitely a light head-banger.

 This album had a lot of potential to succeed, but unfortunately fell short in a lot of ways. Rostam is an extremely talented producer, musician and vocalist, but his skills were unable to mesh together to create something great.

 Standout tracks: “Bike Dream,” “Don’t Let It Get To You” and "Used" 

Dakota Palmer is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at news.spectator@gmail.com. 

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