Sunday, 2 August 2015

Cody Simpson Returns To Australia! Album Review & Meeting Cody

After almost a year away, one of my favourite Aussie artists Cody Simpson is finally home! Cody was last on our shores for Nickelodeon’s slimefest in September last year, supporting Justin Bieber on his Believe tour the year before. In his time away, Cody has made a lot of significant changes to his career; not only by changing record labels, but striving to define himself as an artist. He’s returned to promote his new independent record ‘Free’, released on iTunes late June, performing invite-only gigs in Brisbane and Sydney. Young fans were left confused after Cody tweeted he will only be performing songs from his new album at said gigs, which I found unsurprising after a conversation I had with him back in 2013.

I was lucky enough to meet Cody in a small group of 4 in Adelaide before he leaft for Perth. His dad 
spotted us on the way back into their hotel after getting breakfast. Cody came down shortly after with a little time to chill with us before heading to the airport. He gave us all hugs and happily posed for photos and signed our CDs. The other girls had brought copies of his Acoustic Sessions CD to be signed; I had however brought his previous release, Surfer’s Paradise. When I handed him my CD, he paused to ask me what my favourite song from the CD was - I immediately replied 'Sinkin In'. He looked over his sunglasses at me and said something like “you had that answer all prepared huh?” with a smile, and began signing his lengthy, intricate signature. The other girls had dispersed towards his van and he leaned in towards me and said “people always say Pretty Brown Eyes or [one of] the singles are their favourites, I'm glad you didn't.” He said it in a way that made me think he was tired of the singles and much happier I preferred one of the more meaningful album tracks.We had a pretty good chat before he needed to leave. I distinctively remember hearing him telling his crew members “her favourite song is 'Sinkin In!'” with an massive grin just before I handed him my twitter, clearly happy he'd had a different answer to the question for once. I was blown away by his down-to-earth nature, and have paid even closer attention to him and his career ever since.

Understandably, it came as no shock to me when he announced he had left his previous record label to release music independently. Even when performing at Nickelodeon's Slimefest in Melbourne, he had altered his existing hits to a more reggae, beachy sound that confused his younger fans. It honestly seemed to me that he'd been heading in that direction for quite some time. 

His newest release 'Free' is a very different sound for Cody, unexpectedly un-poppy and much more mature and relaxed. The CD start to finish screams summer and beach vibes, which unfortunately  conflicts with Australia's current cold and miserable weather. Instead, I found myself daydreaming about driving to the shoreline on a chilled out sunny Sunday, practically  smelling salt water in the air. It's probably not a CD that his younger fan base can connect to, but something for his long time and older fans to appreciate - and most importantly, something he can connect to. As an artist, he should be applauded for leaving his previous label to work on music more personal and meaningful that he believes in, something some artists regretfully don't do their entire career. It's a gutsy move, and I hope it pays off for him. I love this new Cody sound, and if he was searching for definition he's definitely found it.

'If It Don't Matter','Thotful' and 'New Problems' were instantly my favourites, all ridiculously catchy and fun to effortlessly sing along to. That mellow reggae sound and lyric depth in his new songs is addictive, very separate from his previous release. Even if you weren't a Cody fan before, I urge you to open your mind and give 'Free' a chance. I was surprised at how fast the sound grew on me, and I can tell already I'll be resurrecting this one as my roadtrip soundtrack when summer rolls back around!

Thanks for reading!
- Nikki.

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