Review: I’m Not Afraid by John Mark Nelson

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Album: I’m Not Afraid
Written By: Caleb Smith
Rating: 5/10

John Mark Nelson is an American-Folk Singer Songwriter (Wikipedia et al), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m Not Afraid is Nelson’s fourth full length album since his 2011 debut titled, I’m Still Here.

Not having listened to the entirety of Nelson’s discography, I’m Not Afraid, is not a convincing single argument for Nelson’s Wikipedia-dubbed genre designation. Considering that Wikipedia may be wrong, or that I’m Not Afraid could be a change in direction for Nelson, standalone, I’m Not Afraid is an OK album who’s lyrical content is overshadowed by its well-done but unnecessary and in turn, overshadowing and unexpected, production quality.

Dominated by scaling instrumentals that accompany the ebbing and flowing sinusoidal structure of mostly repetitive choruses that are short on concrete content, I’m Not Afraid, comes off as somewhat elementary sound. A format pattern in this album, Nelson may begin any particular track with an interesting opening, but is more than likely to revert back to the primarily short staccato style that is typical of many of the tracks on this album.

There are a fair share of Oohs, Hums, and Harmonies on this album as well as a few other faint, cameo like, characteristics such as the occasional female feature, steel string riff, or distorted stance that may hint to this album as being American Folk. However, considering the production style and the governing sonic contributors, I’m Not Afraid, leans more towards a sort of alternative form of pop, that is compliment to Nelson’s low smooth vocals, deep production, and broad instrumentation; that when combined produce something that you wouldn’t expect to hear from a barn house venue, but certainly something that makes for an easy listen.

Favorite Tracks: 2, 7, 1

RIYL: Of Monsters and Men, A Folk Equivalent of Smash Mouth From An Alternate Universe, The Soundtrack of Shrek 2

FCC Violations: Clean

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