MOS Album Review: Emblem3’s “Waking Up” EP

emblem3.jpgEmblem3 is a pop trio from Huntington Beach, California consisting of members Drew Chadwick, and Wesley & Keaton Stromberg. The band first got their big break on The X Factor USA in 2012, and since then they have gained quite the following. Shortly after TXF ended, they released a full length album on Columbia Records, opened for Selena Gomez’s Stars Dance Tour, and went on their own headlining #bandlife tour. In mid-2014, Chadwick announced he would be leaving the group and things fell apart shortly after that, as the band went on hiatus. Now, almost two years later, E3 is back and better than ever. Last week, the boys released a new app, which you can pick up here. The app has a ton of cool features, but the biggest part of it: they dropped their brand new EP exclusively on the app, FOR FREE. How cool is that?! You can read Ellen’s review of the new tracks below!

Okay, let me just start by saying, this EP is FIRE. If you’re already an Emblem3 fan, you are going to love this. If you’re not yet a fan, I strongly suggest checking these tunes out. I’ve been a fan of E3 for a few years now and I’ve gotta say, this new EP blew me away. It’s pure, it’s honest, and it’s catchy as hell. It definitely has more of a Songs From The Couch vibe than say the Nothing To Lose era. It reminds me a lot of their older tunes from before X Factor, and I think a lot of the fans are going to be stoked on that. The boys are no longer with Columbia Records and they are fully in control of their songs once again, and trust me, they are much better off that way. Keep reading for my full review!

“NOW”: This is the first track on the EP, as well as the first single which the group dropped a couple weeks ago. This song couldn’t be more fitting as their comeback track. It tells the story of why they almost broke up for good, while also reassuring everyone that they’re back, and they’re here to stay. Honestly, this song is a proper pop smash. I constantly find myself humming it and randomly singing out “BABY WE’RE BACK, DID YA MISS ME, MISS ME, HERE ON THIS TRACK?” Although they are a pop band and there are a million other pop bands out there, E3 has such a unique style that I think really sets them apart from the others. It always felt like something was missing when Drew was no longer a part of the group, but now that he’s back that magic has reappeared in their music. These guys belong together, and “no one can stop them now”.
Standout lyric: “You see, certain people tried to brand us without taking the time to understand us. I get the fact there’s a business plan but that shit damn near broke the band up.”

“END OF THE SUMMER”: If you’ve been around this band for a while now, you’re probably gonna recognize this song. It’s a revamped version of their old track Feelin’ Right with a banging new chorus. Now, Feelin’ Right has always been one of my all time favourite E3 songs, so it’s no surprise that this new version is my favourite track on this EP. Wesley really nailed the chorus in this one. His vocals are actually insane, not to mention so unique. This song literally feels like a summer romance, it makes me want to fall in love. AND IT’S RIDICULOUSLY CATCHY.
Standout lyric: “We have all we need singing sweet melodies. Feels just like a dream, I need you to believe.”

“TABOO LOVE”: Okay. This song is sexy as hell. It’s a slower R&B track about, obviously, a taboo love affair. I don’t know what it is about a secret romance that’s so hot, but I know you all feel me on this. Listening to this song literally makes you feel like you’re living it. Wesley also tries out his rapping skills in this one, so you know, that’s enough reason alone to love it.
Standout lyric: “Even the sun is jealous of the way you shine, I’ll be staring at you till I’m blind.”

OUT OF THIS WORLD”: This is another one of my favourites. Okay this is about to get real weird for a second. When I listen to this song I literally picture myself floating around in space all happy and stuff just singing and dancing to it. Also kinda makes me picture myself falling in love with an alien. With all the references to stars and galaxies, can you really blame me? I mean, it’s literally called Out of This World. Anyway, now that that’s out of the way… This song just makes me smile so big. It’s probably the most feel-good song on this EP if you’re looking for something to just blast super loud and get crazy to.
Standout lyric: “Love is a blessing, but sometimes it fucking hurts.”

“WAKING UP”: This is the title track of the EP and yet another amazing one. This one really makes me think and makes me feel so conscious. It’s one of those songs that makes me think about every single aspect of my life and how to better it and myself. “It’s about waking up to the oneness of all, after all, that is the Emblem3 philosophy” Drew said about the song on his twitter. Now, I’ve got to talk about one thing: Keaton absolutely KILLS this song. He has such an incredible talent that I think is often extremely underrated. He’s really come out of his shell over the past few years and it’s so good to see him shine. He really carries this song and his voice fits the vibe so well.
Standout lyric: “Let’s follow the road that leads us to the dreaming. Wherever we go, I know we won’t be sleeping.”

CITY LIGHTS”: This is the last track and the only ballad on the EP. It’s kind of got a 3000 Miles feel to it. I have a special place in my heart for this one. The first time I heard it, I immediately related to it. The lyrics in this song break my heart every time I hear them. Emblem3 don’t write a lot of songs like this, but when they do, it’s beautiful. Wesley’s voice compliments this song well, but again, Keaton shines in this one for me. I can really hear the emotion in his voice and it makes the song that much more heartbreaking.
Standout lyric: “Sorry babe, but I just can’t share you. Want you so bad babe, I need you. Screaming out please don’t go, please don’t go. Please come home, please come home.”

Emblem3 really did an incredible job with this EP. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard they were making music again, but these songs more than lived up to what I could have imagined. This is by far their best release to date and I highly recommend listening to it. There is no official iTunes release set for this yet, so for now remember to download the app to hear these tunes. Don’t forget to catch E3 on their Waking Up Tour this spring, where you can hear all these songs live! Check out the dates here.

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