The 2016 debut record from Sam Evian, Premium, was the ideal soundtrack for a sun-drenched ride to the beach, the warm wind in your hair and salt on your skin. It was lush, dreamy pop that would fit snugly on any “roséwave” playlist. But on his follow up You, Forever, Sam Evian (real name Sam Owens) digs his heels in a little deeper, following a darker, more melancholy wave. It’s a record about being in love, but it’s not all light and sweet. Owens gets to the core of his anxieties – loneliness, abandonment, getting older. He spends many songs seeking an escape; a place where he can be at peace, and a partner to get there with.
“I don’t feel alright in society/the twisted world/f*** the guns and mythologies,” he sings on “Country,” a song that finds him questioning the people he’s considered his idols in the changing times. It plays like a road song of a darker shade, its bouncy, driving arrangement a stark contrast with its emotionally conflicted lyrics. On “Next To You,” he finds comfort in a companion amidst the chaos surrounding him. Through hushed, silken harmonies, he sings, “I can’t fight the world’s battles/I don’t have any country/I did but it tore me up/and I don’t know anymore/this life is such a mystery/but I don’t feel so f***ed up as long as I’m next to you.” It is sonically gentle, but a strong statement – it’s not not a protest song. You may find yourself nodding along to this one, especially when he sings, “So many good ones can’t be who they are/So many people are fading away … Together, we’re better off.”
Other standouts include the '60s-vein pop rock gems “IDGAF” and “Where Did You Go?”, and the percussion-heavy groove “Health Machine.” You, Forever is just as sleek and polished as anything we’ve heard from Sam Evian, but it feels like it came from a more organic place within him, likely following some heavy soul searching and time on the road. It’s a journey of an album and we’ll happily hitch a ride.