Alexander 23 Delivers a Nuanced Pre and Post-Breakup Album With 'Aftershock'
Photo: Stefan Kholi
If the name Alexander 23 doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you will definitely recognize at least one of the multitude of incredible songs the singer-songwriter and producer has helped bring to life over the last few years. While busy helping bring tracks like Olivia Rodrigo's "good 4 u" to life, the Grammy-nominated, Chicago-born artist has released his long-awaited debut album, Aftershock, which explores the artist’s multi-faceted worldview and fluctuating relationships through sometimes crushing yet consistently electrifying lyricism and immaculate production.
Listeners got a taste of Aftershock with the February single release “Hate Me If It Helps”, a visceral, soul-bearing track co-written with Dan Nigro and aforementioned superstar Rodrigo. Singing of lost love, Alexander 23 opens on a showcase of soft, emotional vocals before launching into a driving, intricate, and impressive chorus. As an opening song, listeners gain an understanding of Alexander's breadth of ability as well as a look into his personal life, dealing with consuming emotions, juggling grief from the loss of a relationship, and questioning just how to move forward.
Speaking about the story behind the eleven-track release, Alexander 23 reveals, “I like to think of it as a one-year-plus-or-minus radius away from a breakup. It’s about the events leading up to it, the breakup, then getting over it; meeting new people, thinking you’re ready to meet new people, and you're not actually ready. You miss her, but you don't miss who you were together. It's definitely a breakup album, which obviously I'm not the first person to do, but I tried to really pull from my specific experience and really get into the nitty gritty and all the nuances that I was feeling.”
While tracks like “The Hardest Part” dive into the metaphoric deep-end of life, with Alexander 23 singing, “I thought that everybody gets older / But I guess that's not the case / 'Cause you said goodbye to your family last night / You were only twenty-eight / And the year is gonna get a lot colder / But you'll always be stuck in June / When the trees turn red, will it hit me then / That I'm not gonna see you soon?.” The artist also skillfully captures the nuanced joy of sunset in songs in tracks like “If We Were a Party,” where sings about love so strong that the pair would party “til the cops shut it down.” These breaks from the intricacies of an ensuing breakup provide a breath for listeners and showcase Alexander 23's knack for expressing a diverse range of sounds, stories, and emotions.
If this is your first introduction to Alexander 23, you’ll want to sit down and experience Aftershock in its entirety. Thanking his fans on Twitter, the rising star stated, ‘i know how valuable your time is and im grateful you carved out 37 minutes to listen to how i feel about myself and the world.”
Listen to Aftershock below: