Elessar Thiessen is a singer-songwriter from Canada, with a new full length album titled A Rainy Week in Paradise. The album claims to expose its listeners to “longing, angst and agony, fear and shattered confidence” while keeping a light atmosphere and having the end message of “hope and joy.” It’s an admirable and common theme for an album of his genre to have, and Thiessen’s own soft-sweet vocals have so much potential to make any message a heartfelt one. Yet the catch is that it’s such a common theme for his genre, that for this album to do exceptionally well on any charts, it’d have to be out of the box original, with talent bursting from every note. While A Rainy Week in Paradise is delightful to listen to, it’s not quite that.
You can hear the inspirations of the famous singer-songwriters that came before him. Some have compared him to John Mayer, or Jason Mraz. Though his lyrics aren’t nearly as catchy or clever as Mraz’s, and the instrumentals are nowhere near as intricately beautiful as some of Mayer’s top hits. That doesn’t mean that Thiessen himself isn’t a good artist, though. To even produce an album of this caliber, he’s obviously talented. The songs are a joy to listen to, and occasionally take listeners by surprise with smooth and delicate melodies. In the end, despite what the descriptions claim it to be about, it’s an album about the most human, most simple, and most complex thing on Earth – and it’s hard to dislike an album that even attempts to tackle it.
Thiessen’s talents as a songwriter and producer really shine through with the song “You Girl,” which features vocals from Alexa Dirks. The song has a natural, bluesy feel that can make the listener groove in their seat. The vocals from Dirks and Thiessen blend so well together, telling this story that really captures you from beginning to end.
All of Thiessen’s songs have that simple charm to them – there’s no beating around the bush with anything, he’s laying his words and emotions out for the world to see and hear. However, the lyrics are so simple that it almost lacks any sort of hook to catch the listener’s attention. While the theme of A Rainy Week in Paradise claims to tackle the darker themes, the simplicity of the lyrics kind of take away the weight of the topics that Thiessen tries to tackle. “When the World Ends” is obviously supposed to tackle with some heavy stuff – but it barely scrapes the surface, and when it manages to keep the listener’s attention, it fails to hit the listener with the real weight of what he’s talking about. And in the end, the message of hope outweighs any sort of dark topics Thiessen tries to tackle. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
While the instruments are delightful, there’s nothing that’s really ear grabbing about them. The album is easy listening music, produced and mixed in such a way that it’s the perfect music to listen to as you sit back with a book and a nice cup of coffee. It’s not going to win a Grammy or blow your mind. But it’s nice to listen to anyway.
Want to listen to Elessar Thiessen’s music or find out more about him? You can do so at ElessarThiessen.com