By Tara Schoenborn
Up-and-coming soul singer Allen Stone and his protest songs are catching some eyes and ears.
After growing up the son of a preacher, Allen Stone has taken sermons to a whole new level. In what he describes as “hippie with soul,” Stone sings of the hardships of today’s society and brings social commentary to the music world through his ingenious and relatable lyrics. He sings about everything from cell phones to Facebook and discusses the vicious circle of greed that consumes our culture. Most importantly, because many of his lyrics center on the nation’s economic problems, they were adopted as a mantra for the Occupy Wall Street movement. For example, his song “Unaware” is a song attacking the economy, but also doubles as a love song: “Every day the deficit grows/ You spend more than you own.”
In Stone’s “Celebrate Tonight,” he sings, “Everybody’s feeling the strain of the nine-to-five/Forecast is calling for rain, but we’re still alive.” He is promoting the fight against American society and culture and reminds us that by getting wrapped up in the little things, we dread going through the day. We have to remember, however, we are humans, this is a journey, and we have to enjoy life and celebrate each night. Guess he wasn’t a preacher’s son for nothing!
While Stone’s lyrics are meaningful and outstanding, his musicality could use a little more range. His soft, clearly talent-infused voice works well with the soul music he sings, but he has little vocal variation in his songs and can, at times, come across as rather monotone. Recently, he has experimented with a few other genres, such as folk in “Last to Speak” and pop in “Say So,” but it appears he is still trying to find his real sound.
The New York Times recently compared Stone’s voice and style to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, but only time will tell if he will remain with this soul music or find another genre that better expresses his powerful lyrical messages. While he may lack in musicality at times, Stone possesses obvious vocal talent and songwriting capabilities that will only continue to skyrocket him to the top of the charts.