Album review: “Awake” by Alison Wonderland (2018)

One of my favorite albums is “Awake” by Alison Wonderland. This album was released in April 2018. It’s her second record, following 2015’s “Run.” Her third upcoming album is expected to be released this year, sometime in 2021.

Alison Wonderland is a DJ and producer from Australia who also does vocals on her songs, as well as features from other talented singers and rappers. She is an EDM artist, who’s genres also include electro pop, chill wave, trap, and future bass.

“Awake” is a dreamy journey about falling into a haze of love and then eventually crashing back into reality. The context deals with themes of depression, but overall the vibe is still positive and uplifting.

1. Good Enough

Is it good enough?

The record opens up with drawn out suspense. It’s a long build up into something grand. Starting with electro, then piano and violin. Finally after the beat finally drops, she repeats, “is it good enough?”

2. No

Hearing all the words you said
But you don’t remember them
I’m the one who never lied

The first song with full verses and repeating chorus, the beat is still very strong and well produced. This is a song about drawing boundaries against someone, but still being there to love them and support them. I don’t see it as rejection, but making the effort to help this person make healthier choices. This makes me think of dealing with someone who is always used to hearing “yes,” always used to getting your own way, but sometimes it takes a lot of love to tell someone “no.”

3. Okay

You scare me to the core
‘Cause of how much I adore you

The feeling of this song really captures the sense of anxiety I feel that she is attempting to convey. “Can we be okay?” is asked over and over again. The is so much nervousness around someone, because you have put them on a pedestal, which brings an endless pit of trepidation and uneasiness!

4. Easy

I know you’re reaching out but I push you away
Maybe ’cause I’m vain, maybe ’cause I’m vain
Oh, baby, why don’t you find someone easy?

This song truly shed lights on mental issues, when you are dealing with problems like depression and anxiety. You know you’re not normal, and you realize it makes you incredibly difficult to deal with. When you’re fighting with the person you love, you wonder why they have been putting up with you for so long. Why does this person even bother dealing with all of my issues?

5. High (ft. Trippie Redd)

Come and ride for me, lil’ baby
Would you fight for me, lil’ baby?
Would you die for me, lil’ baby?
She’s my soul to keep, lil’ baby

This song features vocals by Trippie Redd, and Alison Wonderland’s voice is not present. The vibe is extremely dreamy, and hazy, and beautiful! It starts off like pure trance, and then the beat drops. It’s very intense in the best way possible.

6. Here 4 U

Just know that I’m here for you.

Also missing Alison Wonderland’s voice, you hear a robotic voice repeat “here for you.” This song is mainly instrumental and focused on the beats. Calming and assuring, this is the antidote to the third track, the anxiety-fueled “Okay.” Rather, this is very feel-good.

7. Church

You’re saying sorry constantly
But you never, but you never
Never say a prayer for me

Alison Wonderland’s vocals return as she sings about demanding to be respected, like she is holy, like she is church. This is another track about demanding to be respected and drawing boundaries.

8. Cry (ft. Buddy)

I just wanna make a grown man cry
I just wanna let you know you’re mine

A duet between Alison Wonderland and Buddy, more great beats, and the chorus has a rasta vibe. Lyrics describe falling for someone but also trying to play it cool, torn between absolute madness and apathetic detachment. In the end, you really get under this person’s skin.

9. Happy Place

F*** me up, f*** me up, f*** me up, f*** me up, f*** me up
On a spiritual level

On a spiritual level
On a spiritual level
On a spiritual level

Calmness swiftly progresses into rage and destruction. I don’t know what else to say, this song is indescribable, it’s an entire experience.

10. Good Girls Bad Boys

Self hate, regret
Can drive us to death
So stand up, progress
It’s all in context

This is a mainly instrumental piece. There’s really not much to it, just a really amazing sound to head-bang to.

11. Dreamy Dragon (ft. Chief Keef)

I had to catch my breath
Jump on a boat and sail
Feelin’ like Johnny Depp

Uplifting and sparkly. The vocals are solely done by rapper Chief Keef. He paints the picture of sailing the sea, blowing out smoke like a dragon and catching up with his breath — because his lover takes his breath away.

12. Hope (Interlude)

Hope is a dangerous word
But I give you everything

This shorter, less-than-two minute interlude speaks a strong message in such a condensed amount of time. A sense of anxiety returns, when you give your pour out your heart and give your complete faith into someone, just to instantly doubt yourself. Taking a chance can destroy you.

13. Sometimes Love (x SLUMBERJACK)

Sometimes love just isn’t enough.

Mainly instrumental, the same verse is repeated over and over. It’s the prelude to the realization that you can try your hardest in love, but everything may still fall apart. It doesn’t always matter how much you love them.

14. Awake

I get it, I messed up, you pushed it, I fell off
You’ll always be better in your own eyes

The conclusion is here. This is actually the saddest song on the whole album. You are parting ways with someone when you realize that too much damage has been done. But it’s also a peaceful song; there’s acceptance. It’s the grand finale.

There are highs and lows in love. There are moments of bliss, and moments of despair. There are feelings of comfort, and feelings of insecurity. What is prevalent in this album, is that mental health plays a huge role. The mind takes you through happy illusions of fantasy and painful illusions of mistrust. Another important theme here is setting boundaries, knowing when to draw the line. I appreciate how Alison Wonderland acknowledges her flaws and mental instability, but still determines that she deserves to be treated with respect nevertheless.


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