‘Love’ is answer for Never Shout Never

'Love' is answer for Never Shout Never

Christofer Drew. Photo from www.nevershoutnever.com

Christofer Drew of Never Shout Never has always been inspired by the Beatles.

Hailing from Joplin, Missouri, the 19-year-old songwriter who recently signed with Warner Brothers, released his debut full-length “What is Love?” on Feb. 26, a simple, sweet and sincere record that is founded in Drew’s unwavering belief in peace and love.

   The record is produced by Butch Walker, who has worked with the likes of All Time Low and the Academy Is … and who is a successful musician himself. The record stays true to Never Shout Never’s sound, but explores new territories, digging deeper into Drew’s meaning of love and contemplating the ignorance and injustices of society.

The first song, “Love Is Our Weapon,” opens up with a cheery and hopeful beat, reminiscent of Panic! at the Disco’s 2008 album “Pretty.”

Odd. It’s an anthemic track, instrumental and inspiring like the Young Veins’ “Change,” urging the new generation to stop fighting.

It hits an especially high note when Drew giddily proclaims:

Love is the only thing that’s kept me believing/

Love is the weapon for this wounded generation.”

“Can’t Stand It” is a quick favorite off the album. This song of hopeless romance breathes an air of We the Kings’ beachy sound. Drew’s lyrics are honest and youthful, the song bursting with love and the beach. The song is original in its sound and unlike anything ever released from Never Shout Never. The listener’s heart warms when the song jumps into the chorus, taking a more upbeat and happy turn.

 The title track, “What is Love?” is a very strong song that reminds us of the raw cover of “Working Class Hero” that The Academy Is… did a while back. It touches you on a personal level as Drew stresses the messed up state of the world and society.

He adopts hopeless and impassioned, angry vocals, similar to TAI’s William Beckett. The song does Never Shout Never justice by managing to capture Drew’s raw emotion.

In the last song, “The Past,” Drew recounts the events of his teenage life and what it cost him to pursue his dream of forming a band. It sounds like a stereotypical topic, but Drew makes it his own. The track is stripped down and Drew sings vulnerably and with utter sincerity about being raised in a midwestern town.

He openly speaks of his addictions, of leaving his family behind and asking for forgiveness for his dues. Towards the end, the song gets instrumental and turns onto a lighter side, not drowning out Drew’s vocals, but helping the song, adding more emotion to it.

It is heartbreaking to listen to “The Past,” and to hear Drew’s vocals, sad and full of passion, the emotions clearly evident in his voice. It is one of the most personal songs Drew has ever written, rivaling “What is Love?” and “Losing It.”

What is Love is an amazing album; be assured of that. But the album should have been longer than its eight tracks.

  Although the majority of the songs which Never Shout Never made instrumental were successful, not all of them  were. We wish “Jane Doe” has been more stripped down than it was on the album. In early versions of the song, in which there wasn’t so much instrumentation, Drew’s voice and ukelele stand alone. It would have been stronger if it had been left unchanged.

Overall, “What is Love?” is worth a listen. Drew has the amazing ability of crafting optimistic, light-hearted songs, like Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer. Drew is bold with his words and doesn’t fret away from speaking his mind, be it about society or religion. Never Shout Never’s emotionally-charged rock makes you think, but it doesn’t dwell on it for too long. The album has funky songs that will bring a smile on your face. Those who thought Never Shout Never’s music would be bland after the band signed to a major label are certainly proven wrong. by What is Love?