**Bear with me while I write my first music review… As I was writing I realized it’s a lot harder than it seems.
I take a lot of music recommendations. I love all kinds of music and all suggestions are welcome because there isn’t much I won’t listen to. Recently my friend introduced me to the “band” Hotel Books. I put band in quotes because Wikipedia refers to it as a “spoken-word project” instead of band. (Yes, I’m way too trusting of Wikipedia but it should be alright in this case.) Immediately I saved their entire Spotify discography (which in this case is every album, thanks Spotify) and listened to each album all the way through. Since my first impression, I’ve listened to every album at least one more time.
Now, usually, I like music that I can sing or at least bob my head to. But when the lyrics are spoken word as they are in every Hotel Books song, that’s kind of hard to do. Wikipedia also classifies the genres for this music as: spoken word, emo, post-hardcore, indie rock, and ambient. So it’s not like there’s no music in the background. The background music is actually very good and something I’d listen to regardless. But with Hotel Books’ songs, the focus is primarily on the “lyrics” or poetry that vocalist Cam Smith is reciting.
Cam Smith, a 23 year old guy from Porterville, CA is the genius behind all of this. Apparently the lyrics are actual poetry that he’s written. And let me just tell you, this is deep stuff.
And I was afraid to change
but I was afraid of not changing
And I remember the moment I destroyed everything I loved
just to find out that I had no idea what love was
While we spend our time alone
On our cellular phones
Not connecting with each other’s minds
And definitely not connection with each other’s souls
As I was listening to the album “Everything We Could Have Done Differently” at work yesterday, I noticed a religious theme I hadn’t before. Which is weird, because looking through the lyrics I see so many references to God, sinning, spirituality, etc. I’m not a religious person in the least but this didn’t really turn me off. To make sure, I looked up an interview with Cam Smith where he confirmed that his band is indeed a “Christian band,” but went on to explain that he “believes in love and believes in God but also believes that people who don’t believe in God deserve love.” He talked about the fact that some people are turned off by Christian bands because they don’t want to be converted, but the goal of Hotel Books is to spread love, not religion.
Watching this interview made me like the project even more. I already knew this guy was something else and I’d already experienced goosebumps from his music but hearing him talk in a non-performance kind of way proved just how well-spoken and genuine he is.
This music isn’t going to be for everyone. The style is much different from anything any other band is doing and if you’re not one to broaden your musical horizons, that’s totally understandable. However I highly recommend checking Hotel Books out. Maybe you’ll get a new favorite band out of it. Maybe you’ll absolutely hate the music and never want to listen to it again. No worries either way, but don’t knock it till you try it.
**Photo is not mine. Credit goes to: www.genius.com.**