Guitars hover about at the intro of “On My Way”, then land in a garden of ease, a stream of expertly crafted pop that certainly earns its “evocative pop” genre-title with the release of Wisely. The songs spring from his heart, delivering a deep knowing glance, perhaps firmly grabbing our shoulders to arrest our attention, or simply offer a strong open hand or embrace.
Willie captures you with his vocals – free and silky but sure and perfectly placed. A few songs feel like what happens when the quiet storm gets kinda rowdy. Maybe a bit randy. A lover’s fingers running through your hair, or deep glances and longing looks.
Melodically, there is a Rubber Soul feel at times, although not so harmony-dependent. Wisely’s songs also feel more personal and up-close, kind of like an across-the-coffee-table performance of each song. The arrangements always feel fresh and clean, remaining alluring and completely supportive of the strong melodies. A wise and confident use of space, as important as any other instrument in Wisely’s dynamic production, which is credited both to Willie and Petur Smith (The Januaries, Jason Falkner). “Through Any Window” musically has a McCartney feel a la “Vanilla Sky”, but lyrically much more intimate, as is the rest of this album.
Each song is firmly but gently anchored, drifting comfortably along with the ebb and flow of the delicious waves of Rhodes keyboard, crystal clear guitars, and swaying but driving beats. Although it’s not dance music, I can’t seem to sit still when listening.
Willie’s albums have gone through their own evolution, and Wisely compares most favorably to Parador, but Wisely does seem the most grounded and rooted. A powerful sense of focus seems to permeate this whole album; in his own words Willie describes that he “finally captured what I hear in my head when I write.” It certainly calls me back for repeated listens.
Check the links below to find his video for “Through Any Window”, which features Jenna Fischer, from NBC’s “The Office” and quite the Willie Wisely fan.