After two years of silence, Melbourne MC Dylan Joel has come out of the black with his stellar debut album titled Authentic Lemonade. Displaying a refreshingly genuine approach to songwriting, some really cool production and an overall positive vibe – Dylan Joel’s Authentic Lemonade has already nabbed the spot of triple j’s weekly feature album.
I’ll admit that, going into this album I had actually never heard of Dylan Joel before. I saw that Authentic Lemonade was triple j’s feature album this week, and it really made me wonder, “Who is this guy?” With that, I decided to take a leap of faith and dive into the album headfirst.
Before jumping right on into things, I did do a quick google search of Mr. Joel. I was delighted to see that he’s Australian (tick) he’s a former unearthed artist (double tick) & that he’s actually touring soon! Which will be great to know if I were to enjoy the album.
So without further ado, Authentic Lemonade kicks off with a track titled Always Fresh. Being the first time hearing Joel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect here. The first verse was pretty solid, but then we jump into the chorus, which, if I’m totally honest has completely ruined the song for me. It’s a repetitive chanting of “we keep it fresh, always keepin’ it fresh” – the type family-friendly trying-to-be-coolness that you’d hear on a Woolworths commercial (cuz they’re the fresh food people, geddit?).
Moving on from this song, the rest of the album really grew on me. The next track, Ain’t You jumps into how he makes music, and how everyone is a critic, spoon-feeding him unwanted suggestions. This opens the listener’s perspective a whole lot more, as it gets the point across that Joel does have sophistication in his words.
The album continues pretty smoothly through tracks like Numbers & Blank, both on which he surprises us with what is actually a pretty damn good singing voice. Track 5, Authentic Lemonade – the title-tracked interlude, takes on the vibe of 1940’s commercial, which really sucks in your attention.
The interlude really serves as a breather, giving us the chance to wrap our heads around who exactly Dylan Joel is, which is appreciated.
After this breather, Joel delivers what is definitely the more luscious, charming and deep half of Authentic Lemonade. This is EXACTLY what I was hoping would happen after the interlude. It’s perfect timing to switch things up a bit now that we’ve been introduced, made a bit of small talk and are starting to feel this friendship coming together, now is exactly the time to learn a bit more in depth about what Dylan has to offer. He does not disappoint.
We’re transported through some real nice melodies on Swing and Hometown Peeps, with some great lyrics such as “why’s it called indie, ‘cuz indie’s an oxymoron” and dedicating Hometown Peeps to pretty much every “underdog/ the little guy” target audience you can think of. Which is a bit cliché, but he actually pulls off pretty well.
The eighth track, Hope Is is my definite standout. From the very start you can tell it’s gonna be a slow burner. The type of song you listen to when you’re in a bit of a downer or trying to relax. Maybe that’s just me; maybe I’m just a sucker for slow burning songs. It is what it is, and this is (in my opinion) the best track on the record.
The rest of the album is met with a lot of power and emotion. Adopting sounds such as church choirs singing, some raw piano leading production & an overall really positive view on who Dylan Joel is.
Overall, I give Authentic Lemonade a score of 7.5/10