Raw emotion and music are intertwined. It is almost axiomatic to point out that emotions are critical to the singer/songwriter genre. Often, they come through the artist’s messages in politics, love and other social issues. These messages masquerade around, hiding the artist’s true perspective, attempting to draw the listener in. A good artist uses their messages to truly connect to as many listeners as possible and make them feel something; challenging truths they hold dear. Steve Mason plays right into these norms and proudly wears his clichéd heart on his sleeve, baring it all in Meet The Humans. Famously of Beta Band and not one to shy away from media attention, Steve Mason presents all his pent-up emotions about whatever the fuck bothered him over the last couple of years and gives the listeners an album that doubles as a catharsis for himself.
While that may sound selfish — reverting to a public forum to bitch and whine about his problems — it keeps it at such a level that makes it easy to bond with the audience, drawing them in. Mason may seem like a whiny friend who complains to seek empathy, but his complaints take a pleasant turn. He pokes and prods at his own raw emotions, which exposes a stubborn pride about his stance on the human condition. This emotional fragility has its ups and downs, and can be rather tiresome. Often, Meet The Humans leaves the listener wondering why they should give a shit about someone else’s emotions.
The heavy subject matter is almost brushed aside by the simplistic production. Flowery, upbeat songs like “Water Bored” and “Alive” reminisce of happier times and much-sought summertime pop tracks. This blissful ideal is constantly tweaked throughout Meet The Humans. Mason grasps onto the theme of emotional purging throughout the whole album, rarely obscuring his voice. Rather, he lets his lyricism and dreamy voice lead the way. Sonically this creates a rather daze-worthy effect that puts the listener in a summery mood similar to simplistic, carefree rock. Meet The Humans is a bit more than just a bullshit summer album that gets a few digital spins because it just feels right. Mason struggles with sticking out from the plethora of similarly equipped singer/songwriters in the world. He tries to combine almost all of the typical singer/songwriter attributes into a unique sound that challenges listeners to avoid disregarding music simply because of a fresh or lackadaisical sound. Instead, Meet The Humans falls comfortably in the middle of the pack and struggles to breakthrough any form of the mold.
Overall, the oscillating emotions are moderately appealing throughout the album, but it lacks the substance for a project that should be soul-baring. It often tries to enable listeners to ponder their own thoughts and stances, but usually falls short to the point where everything blends together into a mishmash of subpar sounds that would probably be best for a sunny (and ironically uplifting) day for casual listening. Steve Mason creates a piece of sentimental art on Meet The Humans, but that doesn’t mean the emotional connection is strong enough to build a lasting relationship with the casual listener.
– Eric N.