Apogee: The highest point in the development of something; a climax or culmination. This is also the name of the album by singer Whitney Tai. Apogee is definitely an appropriate name because it’s clear that as Whitney delves deeper into composing her music, her voice and productions seem to grow as well.
“Whitney is uniquely her own. She’s an original.”
There is a lot of variety in her production on this album starting with:
Track 1: “Star Fish” sets off the tone for this body of work. A mid-tempo song with strong production. I enjoyed the strength and energy of this song with the layering of instruments as the song gained strength.
Track 2: “Not Have Each Other,” which started off to have an 80’s pulsating bass vibe followed by distorted guitars. Is it a dance? Is it rock? Is it pop rock? Yes. I dig the vibe, it was a great cruising song as I drove top down in Malibu, wind in my hair. It has a nice balance of guitars and synth pop.
Track 3: “The Cure.” At first it starts out as a simple piano and vocal arrangement but that was soon to change. As the song gained more strength and energy I felt the song was moving into an almost rock opera. The simple piano verses were met by fully produced rock tracked choruses. Nice grooves, and I especially liked the blues riffed guitars in the background.
Track 4: “Surrender.” I have said this before about Whitney Tai. She is a professional and knows how to put together an album. Surrender reminds me a little bit of Garbage: the darker chord changes, the great synth, guitar and drum rhythm sections, and Whitney’s vocal range is in full effect on this song.
“Apogee is definitely about surrender and elevating to a higher vibration. Being formless, suspended in space and time, so that you may renew and grow.” – Whitney Tai
As we enter the midway point of this compilation, the strength and energy of each song grows to a higher point.
Track 5: “Righteous” is my favorite song on the Apogee album and probably my favorite Whitney Tai track. This is a bounce your head, hypnotic track that is melodically strong and vocally strong. In fact, the whole production of this song is well balanced and I should be hearing this song on every radio station. A good dance rock (probably more rock) song that is very memorable.
Track 6: “Scolded.” We slow it down a little bit as this starts off as a piano ballad but quickly gains that energy. It becomes a full synth rock mid tempo ballad. Lush background vocals and a strong song. The melodies are very strong and I think the song placement directly after “Righteous” was a good call. It keeps the energy of the album moving along. It almost seems like the productions are getting larger and larger with each song.
Track 7: “Meet me on Melrose” has a bit of a Spanish flair due to an acoustic Spanish guitar opening… Lady Gaga vibe and energy but with a Rob Thomas/Santana smooth feel.
Track 8: “Not Without Love” continues the same energy as The Cure, Surrender, and Scolded. It starts out synthy with a mid-tempo feel but then moves into a total, heavily produced rock opera track which I absolutely love. It reminds me of Boston or ELO or Gaga. Strong vocals, strong melodies, strong song.
Track 9: Electrified: Analog synth driven song. I love how the pulsating groove completely supports her softer voice on this song. She does not have to go full voice to sell the song.
Track 10: “Incantation” starts off as a piano ballad but moves into power guitars with a very “GNR November Rain” feel but clearly original and unique. This is a deep in thought song of contemplation and a good ending to this body of work.
Whitney Tai is talented but more than talent, she knows how to produce an album that is well connected and commercial ready. The common denominator on many of her songs is that they start off simple and then move into a full blow production. With each verse and each chorus, she adds another layer of instrumentation to help build that energy. It could be something simple as adding a screaming guitar deep in the background or adding another layer of vocals. This low energy to flying energy within the song and within the compilation is what makes her sound “pro ready.” I will be very happy when I hear her songs hit the Top 100 on Billboard or in a movie soundtrack.
Review by Lee Lontoc – VQS/Hollywood Vocal Coach
“We get knocked down and abused for so long that no one teaches us how to self-care so we can be fully immersed in the precious moments of our lives.” – Whitney Tai
Whitney, welcome back to VQS. Congrats on your new album! What was your inspiration when you were writing this material?
After two years crafting Apogee with my producer, Tim Janssens, the record was a serious purge and reflective meditation on how much I had evolved as a musician and human being. The album is a quite literal ebb and flow of my growth. Every song represents a struggle or epiphany attached to a particular moment in time. As someone heavily influenced by and through the art world, conceptual creation and crafting song is my way of communicating. Some important themes on the record are definitely resilience, gratitude, righteousness and bravery. We get knocked down and abused for so long that no one teaches us how to self-care so we can be fully immersed in the precious moments of our lives.
What is your vision for this album? What lessons would you like to impart with your audience?
Apogee is definitely about surrender and elevating to a higher vibration. Being formless, suspended in space and time, so that you may renew and grow. A healing manual. Take the needed doses in varying quantities and moods that apply to your ailments. Apogee changed my life and if it can be a comfort or springboard for the fire in someones deepest self, then I think it’s doing what it intended to do.
What is your favorite part of this album?
If I had to pick one of my favorites, I would say I love the pre-chorus of Electrified. When my grandpa was dying in the hospital, I was severely depressed. He was my best friend. I was there many nights of the week so he wouldn’t be alone and we would sit, laugh and smile together. His heart was failing, he was spaced out a lot from the onset of dementia and didn’t have much time left. It was those small moments sitting with him and seeing his brightness in such a grim place that taught me lessons of peacefulness. He illuminated everything dull with a lust for life and fearlessness from letting go. He began to teach me resilience and I believe this is where Apogee sparked its inception. The song talks about the world falling down around you and realizing love and connection with one another can lift us far higher. “When I think of how you make me feel inside, I feel electrified, When I dream of all the times we laughed and cried, I feel electrified, When I wake up there’s a million reasons why, I feel electrified, We are electrified.”
Anything else we should know about it? Future releases? Upcoming events?
Apogee is out on all digital platforms now. Physical CD’s and merch will available on the Whitney Tai website very soon and the brand new lyric video for “Righteous” is live on my YouTube channel. I just released an intimate live acoustic version of my song “The Dying Kind” during quarantine from my other rock project, The 1905. You can find that tune on our band camp page. More surprises coming soon.
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