All over the world, now more than ever, individuals are talking about mental health–a topic that has been seemingly left in the dark until just recently. Understanding the importance of openly discussing an issue that so many individuals are scared to bring up, Stolar is breaking out and showing the world that emotional, raw music could be the perfect coping mechanism. In Soho, NY, the first installment of a year-long project titled Raw Emotions, Stolar is sharing his personal battles–and hopefully helping listeners get through theirs.
After comparisons to artists such as Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and even Adele, I went into the first track, “Paralyzed,” expecting a mainstream pop and R&B sound. I was met with a beat drop and a voice as smooth as honey (excuse the cliche, but it’s true). Easily nailing the high falsettos and then transitioning his voice back down confidently without skipping a beat, Stolar’s vocals have him sold. Not so subtly, the occasional electric guitars in the background give the song a necessary edge. With this catchy, almost sexy sound introduced in the opener, I’m a firm believer that Stolar will be all over the radio one day.
The second track of the collection, “Feel Good,” is a contender for my favorite, as this song in particular really got me on board with the work of Jay Stolar the first time I listened through the EP. Coming from an artist who is open about his battles with bipolar disorder and depression, I think “Feel Good” carries an importance for listeners who can relate to what he is going through.
In this track, Stolar stresses that he isn’t okay, while still including an optimistic beat and lyrics that give some insight on how he copes with his struggles (“Meditate to get a little help from the outside, nothing’s working, gonna call my friends”). He follows up with the chorus, “I just wanna feel good, feel good.” The contrasting elements present here simultaneously validate the very real pain of living with mental disorders while still highlighting the necessity of trying to help yourself feel better in those hard times. I can imagine it being an extremely influential track for those reaching out, and those who yearn to feel good again.
Just under two minutes long, the last track, “406 Broome St. 3.20.2015,” is somewhat of an interlude. As he repeats, “I just want to come back to the old me and you / I just want to go back where we belong,” you can feel the emotion in his voice throughout the gentle and mesmerizing background noise. As soon as this song ends, you’re met with a silence that signifies the end of the first piece of this project. For me, that silence was accompanied by goosebumps and an instant desire to rewind, close my eyes, and experience that final minute and a half again. I wanted to hear his stories, hear his pain, and to know exactly what the significance of 406 Broome Street is and what memories he connects with that address.
Raw Emotions: Soho, NY is the start of a year long journey for Jay Stolar, and I foresee it being a major success for him by the time it concludes. Because each track on the EP has its differences while still maintaining an overall cohesive sound, I’m curious to see if he can sonically shake things up whilst producing so much new content in so little time. Nonetheless, I’m confident that the inspiration behind the work will do big things for him. The meaning underlying this project is something immense for Stolar, and it is evident that his internal struggles are passionately and wholeheartedly poured into this series of music. All in all, Raw Emotions is something fans can confide and find hope in, and, for that alone, I’m very excited to see what is to come.
REVIEW BY EMILY GORDON