To call the title track of April Rose Gabrielli’s debut solo album, “I Woke Up Alive”, dramatic doesn’t quite capture how close she goes to an operatic tragedy via classic pop rock elements, it seems to shake in fear as she recounts the true story of her sickness when epileptic fits landed her in hospital last year. The traumatic occurrence leads to the most devastating hook of 2022 “I woke up alive on my deathbed…”
This is not a minor artistic statement, to take the horrors of a potential demise and share it with an audience is daring stuff and a deepening of April’s skillset during a time in which she has the magic touch, she can’t seem to write a bad song. The visionary folk opening leading to a hard and horrified chorus, on a song for people who are alone, afraid, insecure, is a fearless provocation of the end, and the entire chorus is terrifying and beautiful. For anyone who has suffered through a life threatening situation, for cancer patients or AIDS victims, it keeps on smoting it where hope and hopelessness dissolves into each other. The bridge seems to have appeared from another world, it is a couple of lines with the piano and a couple more with Kulick, but it seems to be an exhausted exhalation imagining herself getting well before it returns to the chorus. The sound is cinematic in scope, it covers the tracks and leaves plenty of room for April to lower the boom in an inverted act of empathy, she doesn’t commiserate with other people, she is the victim, so it talks directly to you and not at you: she knows because she knows and her mortality bedazzles us.
I was happier because I knew I was happy
a snapshot of big hits and high tides, mostly high tides.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid