Didn't know what to say
So I, I just waved goodbye
I took a step and let out my breath
And I stared straight into that sky
I felt like you betrayed me
Now I'm thinking you've saved me"
One Word Review: Catharsis
I discovered Morgan Wade half a year ago, while reading Fireworks magazine, where the album got a positive review, and I decided to give it a listen, even if it sounded like a left-field addition to my collection.
If you already know the album, then you can imagine my surprise, when the opener Wilder Days hit me for the first time. It was a kind of hesitant "Wow!"-feeling, as I was reminded of the first time I listened to Tori Amos 25 years ago, as well as my first listen to "A Hundred Highways" by Johnny Cash.
Listening to the album for the first time, was a discovery of something completely unexpected and surprising, something unique and new. I had a crystal clear feeling that this was something very special. This feeling only grew with each listen, and as it bloomed into full splendor, the album took on a life of its own. It now holds the top spot as my favorite album of 2021, and I cannot get over how good it is.
The core of Reckless is Morgan Wade’s raw, emotional and completely convincing voice. Her incredibly heartfelt singing brings a special empathy to the songs, and a feeling of honesty to the album. I can feel all these songs, and they make a huge impression. As brutal and haunting as some of the lyrics are, they are matched by a beautiful delivery, both vocally and musically. Words and music just mesh in the most fitting way throughout the album. The band is tight and the music flows, accompanying the vocals in the best way possible.
Getting back to the album opener, Wilder Days, it is the most polished and immediately catchy song of the album, and it has hit potential written all over it. The song flows so well, and when the chorus hits, I am sold every time. Beneath the infectious chorus and the upbeat music, is a dormant feeling of sadness and missed opportunity. It brings depth and makes the song perfect in its very own way.
The rest of the songs may not be as immediate, but they all have that incredible depth, and with time, they bloom. I am now at a point, where I love every single song of the album equally, and that makes the album something truly special. I would describe the music as a mix of pop and rock. Soft rock may be the closest definition I can give, but seriously, it is just music in its purest form: A band performing songs that make an emotional connection.
That emotional connection is immediate. Take a song like Take Me Away, which oozes of sadness, right from its opening lines. It also crackles with electricity, and tension is at a breaking point, as the song slowly evolves from its acoustic opening to a full blown band affair, with strong harmonies adding to the impression. A chilling song all around.
Northern Air uses its wonderful atmosphere to deliver another emotional punch. There is a feeling of helplessness here, and I love how the line “There’s a red wine stain on my white dress, that I bought to impress you” emphasizes it.
A great atmosphere also flows through Don't Cry, especially the drums have a strong Beatles vibe. The atmosphere fully blooms around the 2:17 mark, where a short, exquisite bridge arrives. It is a fantastic song about the art of letting go, and the line "I gotta take control. Lose myself to gain my soul" nails it.
It may sound like the album is depressing, with much sadness and melancholy, but that is far from the impression the album leaves. Reckless manages to give voice to these universal stories, and bring a sense of joy and empowerment to the listener.
Other Side has a sense of peace about it I really like, while Last Cigarette reeks of yearning and confidence. Yearning and confidence may sound like a strange cocktail, but it ends up working beautifully, and the song becomes addictive, like its subject matter, and is almost impossible not to sing along to.
The title track is another melodic highlight, where deep feelings and positive music flow together, and form something remarkable. It is a song that wants to be shouted from rooftops.
In contrast to the album cover, Morgan Wade is not hiding away in her songs. Instead, it feels like she is baring her soul. She has a special gift of being able to convey a wide array of emotions through her singing. Nowhere else is this clearer than in Mend and Met You.
Mend is so beautifully chilling. Feelings of insecurity, doubt, hope, regret, anger and resolve are torn open in such an honest and touching way, that I can’t help but empathize. I find it quite amazing, that I identify with these songs so strongly, and that they move me so deeply. This goes for the whole album, but Mend is one of my personal favorites, and it is sung with so much feeling, that I completely surrender to its magic.
Equally chill-inducing is album closer Met You, a raw, incredibly beautiful acoustic song, where the final words leave the album hanging on a haunting note. It makes me want to hear the whole album again, to go through this emotional rollercoaster one more time. The album becomes addictive in this way.
Reckless was recently re-released in a deluxe edition with 6 bonus tracks. I recommend this version, as the 6 bonus tracks are all excellent additions. The only disadvantage is that the original album was perfect with the way Met You closed it.
These are new times, when my favorite album of any year isn’t in the realm of hard rock or heavy metal, but deep down I just love great music, no matter the genre. To me, music is all about emotions. Reckless evokes incredibly strong emotions, with songs thats are well written and memorable. It feels comforting to know that out there, someone has put all these recognizable feelings into songs, and decided to share them in the most fantastic way. Sometimes, I just want to give all the songs a great big hug. That feeling of shared humanity is both invigorating and cathartic. Reckless is a work of infinite sadness and infinite hope, delivered in the shape of 10 spellbinding songs. Thank you Morgan Wade for creating this gem.
Written By Steen
Online: Sunday, March 13, 2022
Take Me Away