Brett Vogel – Never Giving Up


Brett Vogel – Never Giving Up 

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Pop singers like this, with emotive voices and an instinctive talent for phrasing, don’t come along often. Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Brett Vogel has an appealing singing voice with compelling whine in it that adds an emotional edge to even the simplest of lines. Such gifts need proper framing. Never Giving Up succeeds, in part, thanks to its solid production and a handful of good songs. Vogel is rarely content with the familiar and, in the album’s best moments, uncovers inventive twists on reliable and well-worn pop formulas. Unfortunately, Vogel succumbs to temptation on too many tracks and focuses his talents on moments unworthy of his time.  

The first moment like that comes with the title cut. A track entitled “Never Giving Up” has some things working against it from the outset. The title promises trite sentimentality and pushes priorities clearly more aligned with pop radio sensibilities. “Never Giving Up” fulfils that dubious pledge with a vapid, but appropriately noisy chorus that gives the song a definable crescendo but also mires it in schlock overall. “Surcease in Time”, the album’s longest track at six plus minutes, is a moody and often poetic composition dealing with familiar subject matter than this review will not spoil, but Vogel’s sharply observed lyrics are likely able to overcome any listener’s misgivings. This is a serious piece and perhaps the album’s finest. 

“I Miss the Snow” is a song about homesickness, but the sort that sets in when a number of things haven’t gone your way. It’s more about the desire to escape an undesirable situation or emotions and Vogel’s vocal does a great job of conveying longing. “Two Times the Killer” is a solid song, but it never really takes off. The steady drumming holds everything together and the violin accompaniment gives the song an unusual instrumental voice. “All of the Others” has an appealing midtempo glide and violin once again working with the guitars as a lead instrument. The chorus is one of the album’s best. 

The unquestioned star of the album isn’t Vogel’s still developing songwriting, but his nasal and deeply affecting pop vocals. There’s very little in popular music Vogel couldn’t sing and his natural talent for phrasing opens up many songwriting possibilities. Unfortunately, few of those possibilities are sufficiently exploited on Never Giving Up, but enough of them are that listeners should keep coming back and never give up on Vogel’s future.  


Stephen Bailey

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