ALBUM REVIEW + INTERVIEW: catch up with wanderer about the release of his debut album!
Wanderer, the "cinematic pop" solo project from Arizona-based singer/songwriter Adam Simons, first came to be in 2016 and, after years of singles and EPs, we've been graced with Songs for the Night, his debut full-length album and his "first major artistic statement, solidifying his sound of sultry, 80s-tinged pop music." Simons' own artist bio puts it perfectly: his goal "above all else is to create music that makes you feel something - whether it be the soundtrack for a midnight drive, the pangs of a complicated relationship, or the nostalgia in remembering years past.”
To say that the songs that Simons has crafted for his debut are infectious would be an understatement. It's damn near impossible to get these songs out of your head once you've listened to the album, even once, all the way through.
The album is like a journey - a drive through the night, you could say - and it starts with "Who's Gonna Love You," an unstoppable, anthemic, 80s-adjacent tune, which genuinely reminds me of some of my late-night driving playlists: you put the loudest, funkiest songs toward the beginning to start the long drive off as strong and energetic as possible.
Wanderer keeps the party going with "Hurt This Way," the second track on the album and one of the funkiest. My favorite part of this song is the breakdown right before the last chorus (I love that bass) when Simons croons, "Lost in my mind, gotta find my way back to you / Caught up inside dreaming, dreaming of you." It makes the last minute of the song pop that much more.
"Driving" and "Runaway" are two of my favorite tracks on Songs for the Night; to me, these songs perfectly encapsulate what Simons means by "cinematic pop." They're all-encompassing. It feels like the world outside these two 4-minute songs doesn't exist when you're listening to them. This is, essentially, what "Driving" is about, too - being with someone who makes you feel like the world outside the two of you is nonexistent. And it doesn't hurt that the guitar solo at the end is as killer as it is.
Another standout track on this album (although they really all stand out to me, but I've been trained to play favorites, unfortunately) is "Know Your Heart." I think it has the makings of a timeless pop anthem, and that it could rise through the indie ranks to stand beside such songs as "Girls" by The 1975 and "ILYSB" by LANY.
I love the aesthetic that's been crafted to surround Songs for the Night and Wanderer as a whole. It's all dark blues and neon lights, bass solos and synthesizers. This is a masterfully crafted album and is perfect no matter the situation, no matter your mood.
I also had the incredible opportunity to chat with Adam Simons about the birth of Wanderer and his plans for the project moving forward. Take a peek at what he had to say below!
When was Wanderer born?
I created Wanderer as a solo project at the beginning of 2016. I didn’t end up releasing music till later that year.
A lot of your time has been spent on the road with The Maine, but you’ve played quite a few sets as Wanderer. Do you have plans to tour on your own to support your debut?
I am working on that! It would be a dream to continue to tour more, and I want to play this album live for people. I have a great band who plays with me, and hopefully this year we’ll be able to do a lot of shows.
I know you’ve described Wanderer as a “cinematic pop project,” and wondered if you could elaborate on that?
My goal has always been to create music that makes you feel something, and that takes you to a time and place in your mind. Nostalgia and imagery are important things in my music, and I want my songs to feel like a soundtrack to people’s lives.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? Any tour must-haves?
Vocal warmup, drink lots of water, try not to get too in my head, haha. For touring, I’d say - AirPods and good headphones. I love to listen to podcasts and chill music when traveling.
I’d also say a few books, and lots of jackets and clothes. :)
What kind of music did you grow up listening to? And how did that influence your own music?
I grew up listening to all kinds of music, from The Beatles to Blink 182. My love for the music of the 80s and artists like Fleetwood Mac & Phil Collins have played a big part in shaping Wanderer’s sound.
Who are some artists making music today that excite you?
I am a huge fan of The 1975, Tame Impala, COIN, LANY, and Harry Styles - to name a few!
Wanderer can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and his website. The debut album Songs for the Night can be streamed wherever you listen to music, and you can even buy physical copies, if that's your jam, too!