With a 35-year history of being a rocker and singer-songwriter, Todd Underwood brings us his latest solo album “Extraordinary”. This album is for those of you who like variety, but can’t stand lack of consistency. The album at hand here is a rollercoaster of riffs and emotions that will take you to many different areas of the Rock and Roll spectrum, so please take a look at my analysis of it:
1- You’re My Everything
The track begins with a sample/turntable that runs throughout the track and acts like an added piece of percussion. The drums are the main star of this song, as their rhythm will get you moving your head along with it. Todd’s voice is breathy and has a tiny bit of rasp that makes it all the more expressive. I was already hooked after I heard this song alone.
2-A Little Faith
This one has a nice mid-tempo as well, with Todd’s singing slightly higher notes. What I love the most here are the fluid and continuous bass lines, which feel like a solid ground of sound, from which the rest of the elements and sounds emerge. You can also hear a nice little guitar solo that although short, was pretty impactful.
3- We’re All Right
This one was catchy as hell, another cool bass line. The whole vibe is more on the upbeat and dancy/funky side this time. I love the wah-wah effects he is using on the guitar solos here so much.
4- Give Your Life
When you hear a nice clean guitar chord progression that plays slowly through the verse instantaneously teleports me to the 2000s. This is the love song for a well-written rom-com, that might have a happy ending and play this song when the credits roll to signify how much the protagonists are full of love and youthful energy.
5- Every Day
This one has a more bluesy riff, with Todd’s strong chest voice belting I had shivers down my spine. It’s a nice 2-minute breather in between long tracks, which is sung in a very ethereal way.
6- Wayback Man
This song is when things began to get confusing for me. This definitely sounds like it’s the same genre as the track before it, but it has some kind of banjo or additional percussion that make it sound like a folk/Americana piece. The way the composition and songwriting on this record can blur the lines between genres is beyond amazing. I love how the chorus riff mimics exactly what the vocal line is doing.
7- Grace in The Grey
This one begins with an electronic synth beat and some guitar harmonies. And then the actual drums fade in, in a 2000s fashion once again. The vocals have an effect pedal that shrouds them in confusion and sadness and I just love it. Todd uses some falsetto, there’s an impressive key change in the chorus, and the guitar solo is the album’s lengthiest; the effects and elements from other genres are all over the place here. Probably my favourite track on the album and one of the more memorable ones.
A mid-tempo love song with a cool bassline and more showcasing of vocal abilities. This one is another breather after the long song before it, and the way Todd enunciates his words adds a beautiful emotional quality to every lyric.
9- In Someone’s Eyes
This one has some offbeat drumming, which I’m a sucker for, and some more of Todd’s soaring vocals. I love how he sings with a little bit of nasality in the upper part of the range to make his head and mixed voice sound richer and thicker in texture. What I didn’t really like was the autotune on the vocals because it felt so unneeded and anticlimactic.
10- Are You Going My Way
This one feels like a late 80s Hard Rock track. With its anthemic chorus and superb drumming, it’s definitely gonna be a crowd pleaser in the live shows. In the last chorus, Todd lets out some amazing screams, that just serve to prove the calibre of vocalist that he is. He can sustain a high mixed note with just the right amount of distortion, in a method that I’ve heard nothing similar to before. I was blown away by the quacking in the guitar solo which made me both laugh and feel impressed.
11- I Won’t Say Anything
This one seems like a breakup ballad that was written by a pop punk band until the guitar solo begins, and then it’s a classic rock song with a dense and detailed solo in its midsection. Once again Todd seamlessly brings elements from all genres in and out of the Rock spectrum, and he does so masterfully.
12- If I Could Just
This is a mix between modern pop-rock songs with its dance beat, and a hard-rock song when you hear its guitar riffing and solo. Putting a memorable song like this as your album closer was definitely a great choice, I can’t get it out of my head after a couple of days of first listening to the album.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Todd Underwood on making a record that balances being coherent with being adventurous. For most of us being experimental or creative is synonymous with creating a multi-genre record. But in this record’s case, you can describe it as a rebellious endeavour that doesn’t acknowledge the boundaries of the genres, and in doing so built a lot of common ground between them.