Marrying the ardently soulful with the boldly inventive, New Jersey-based Romeo + Juliet's debut album Raging Bull is a stunning effort that shouldn't be missed as the new year releases heat up. It's a project that takes pride in its timelessness and attention to detail, a monument to heaven sent creativity and musicality.
"Raging Bull" is appropriately cinematic and experimental, a 14-song album that somehow remains cohesive and singular despite its sonic potpourri of influences. There's Blood Orange in there, along with Leon Bridges and Marvin Gaye, dance synths that call to mind Kaytranada, and clever, nuanced writing that echoes the ethos of Frank Ocean. It remains solely in its own lane, however, marrying so many genre influences it feels unfair to even begin categorizing it. Early standout "King David" illustrates the story of its titular subject, a multilateral narrative focusing on the limits of love, passion, and struggle. Much of the album is spent exploring these themes, often finding ear-catching melodies that somehow illustrate complex emotions. Another example of this comes in "Slide", a flowery love song with pulsating bass and an angelic composition that feels destined to be a soundtrack for warm Summer nights.
"Raging Bull was intended to be my last musical project. I've been at it for a decade and had grown weary of the struggles that come with being, just that, a struggling artist. With the project being my last body of work, it took all the pressure off of me and allowed me to finally take all the musical risks I'd always been afraid to take prior. I wrote and produced everything on here and decided on the name Raging Bull because it captures perfectly what I'd grown to feel internally on the road to wanting to be deemed a success; rage, passion, confusion, but most importantly a blind determination that, despite no one listening, I was on the right path. I hope that anyone that hears my music or reads my story learns that they're not alone and there's still time."
A project with this level of thoughtful polish and inspiration is nothing less than a unicorn in the modern musical landscape of short, digestible consumerism. It's important to recognize the inspirational visionaries that still exist creating timeless works of art like Raging Bull so that sometime in the near future we can return to an economy where bold creative vision is rewarded over 10 second snippets of virality.