Review: The Ready Set – I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming

Artist: The Ready Set
Album: I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming
Genre: Pop
Label: Decaydance/Sire

Jordan Witzigreuter, like almost all artists do, started in his parent’s basement. Having learned drums at 14, Witzigreuter played in various local acts before deciding at 16 that he needed his own sound. Four years, multiple independent releases, tours, and a record deal with Decaydance later, that decision has more than paid off as Witzigrueter’s little “project,” The Ready Set, has become a National phenomenon whose debut release, I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming hits stores today [June 15th].

Blending the synth sensibilities of Owl City with pop cues taken straight from any Top 40 list, Witzingreuter has crafted something that both sounds completely familiar, yet entirely unique with I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming. From the lead track/single, “Love Like Whoa” [which was produced by JR Rotem who recently made Jason Derulo huge] to later [future hit] songs like, “Stay Four The Same” and “The Ghost of Los Angeles,” it is clear that this is a record intended to evoke “warm fuzzies” and, more than likely, turn guys off entirely. This isn’t a bad thing though as Witzigreuter plays to his audience and never misses an opportunity to deliver some tween heart melting line about beauty, catching them while falling, etc. which, thanks to his boyish charm, all come across as heartfelt sincerity stolen from some teen’s private journal.

Unlike other talents that have exploded from the social networking scene in the past two years, Witzigrueter seems to understand that his popularity is a result of one thing above all else, hooks. Unlike NeverShoutNever and Owl City who both became suddenly “serious artists” when the powers that be handed them a contract, Witzigrueter stays true to the classic Ready Set sound with this release by using his newfound funding to simply push and evolve rather than change. Every track dances on a fine line between full on pop song and simply well designed pop rock. Its the same balance Witzigrueter has used for years, but its one that, no matter how skilled one becomes at it, only works when the balance is perfect. Tracks like, “More Than Alive,” “Limits,” and “Spinnin” all play the pop card far too heavy, making Witzigrueter seem like the Hot Topic Justin Timberlake, a look [and sound] that simply doesn’t work.

While many will protest that The Ready Set is nothing more than musical cotton candy, I still think there is something here you should hear. It isn’t the most technical music ever written and, unless you’re a teenage girl, you probably won’t connect at all to the lyrics, but it is one of the catchiest releases you’ll hear this year. I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming is the kind of album that screams, “Call all your friends, we’re having a party,” but at the same time delivers again and again as musical accompaniment to your daily grind. Its upbeat, positive, and while only having the lasting value of maybe this season, will stick in your mind for days. Say what you want about this genre and The Ready Set, but if you can write a song I can’t escape, you’ve done something right.

Score: 7.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

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