It is not often that when you listen to a music artist, you feel like you’re diving into their deepest and most private thoughts, as if you’ve uncovered a secret audio diary against their will. But that is how it feels like when listening to American singer-songwriter Mikael Temrowski otherwise known as Quinn XCII (pronounced ‘Quinn 92’), and his third full studio album ‘A Letter To My Younger Self’. Listening to this album felt intrusive, uncomfortable, and insightful, but all in the best kind of way.
Not defined by one sound alone, Quinn XCII’s third studio album is a diverse mix of genres from pop, hip-hop, electronic, acoustic, to soul. It is clear that he has taken great risks with ‘A Letter To My Younger Self’, making use of different genres to match the variety of emotions and stories injected into the album. Despite this, not a single song on this 12-track release feels out of place, all marrying together nicely and combining to make a beautifully personal record.
Every song on ‘A Letter To My Younger Self’ is cleverly written, composed and wonderful to listen to, to the point where I am heavily convinced that Quinn XCII cannot write a bad song. Even though each song is impressive in its own way, there are still some that stood out to me more than others.
‘Stacy’ speaks of an old flame and a once complicated relationship. While I can neither confirm nor deny this muse’s influence specifically in other songs on the record, the name returns in ‘Two 10s’, a contagiously catchy track, hinting to possible mischievous antics and almost sounding as if from a previous life.
If you’ve ever felt determined to make your dreams come true and have yearned for success in your personal goals, ‘Notice Me’ is a great song to listen to, as not only is it infectiously addictive with its use of guitar on the track, but the lyrics are incredibly thought-provoking. ‘Meeting Strangers’ is a tune that would honestly sound so much fun to participate to live, and is definitely a song that I would love to witness, should Quinn XCII ever come back down to tour.
As a sucker for ballads and love songs, I can confirm that there are happily a few on the album. Firstly, piano ballad ‘Second Time Around’ was the first track to demand my attention, purely for its raw emotion and simplicity. The song’s lyrics reflect on regrets, past mistakes, and hard-earned lessons, almost sounding like a prayer. ‘Mad At Me’ is a beautifully poetic and heartbreaking song. I could go on, but you simply must listen to this track for yourself. It really is that enchanting and bitter-sweet at the same time. Finally, ‘More Than Friends’ is a cute song that could be the perfect synopsis for a TV show or feature-length film. While listening to the song, I could perfectly picture the scenario in my mind, which is honestly a testament to Quinn XCII’s storytelling.
Closing the record with ‘Everything I Need’, Quinn XICII displays impressive vocals while openly addressing the important things in life, with lyrics completely relatable to this unprecedented time.
Overall, Quinn XCII’s third full studio album ‘A Letter To My Younger Self’ is clearly created from love lost, love won, and the overall experiences of both. It is insightful, thought-provoking, and surprisingly, incredibly romantic. Your favourite song is bound to change depending on your mood, but that’s also what makes Quinn XCII’s music so special. When listening, you feel that he understands you and you can relate to him in so many ways, even though you’ve never actually met.
‘A Letter To My Younger Self’ is out now in all good record stores and is on streaming services everywhere. Do you yourself a favour and listen to Quinn XCII’s outstanding record. You can thank me later.