Keepin' It Simple
Artist: Oren Masserman Album: Keepin' It Simple Review by Kevin Mathews Sometimes, there is something to be said about consistency in pop music. From album cover image to album title to music to lyrical content, singer-songwriter Oren Masserman has no problem getting his message across to anyone who will take the time to listen. The cover of Masserman's sophomore effort features a young boy climbing a coconut tree in the obvious pursuit of a prized coconut. The sky is golden and cloudy, the location is presumably somewhere on an island paradise, perhaps Hawaii? The album is appropriately called Keepin' It Simple as well! The fact that Masserman is a lifetime surfer completes the picture rather emphatically. A casual listen to Keepin' It Simple will probably raise comparisons in most folks' minds with the best-selling albums of fellow surfer dude Jack Johnson. Definitely, there is a similar easy-going, upbeat, positive vibe about Masserman's music that is highly reminiscent of Jack Johnson's very popular oeuvre. Older readers will no doubt recognize the indelible mark of Jimmy Buffet on the Masserman's entire 'island escapism' schtick. Remember, the word here is 'consistent,' as Masserman's songs never stray from the formula set out from the opening song 'Mango Kisses.' Instrumentation is stripped down, with acoustic guitars and ukeleles providing accompaniment and a multitude of percussive instruments keeping time whilst the melodies are uncomplicated enough to support natural harmonies. Lyrically, Masserman takes inspiration from his own life experience, i.e. a lifestyle of traveling, surfing and sailing. In other words, the good life. Certainly, it is impossible not to visualize sandy beaches, fruit drinks, sun-kissed tanned bodies when listening to the music on Keepin' It Simple. Masserman never claims to be anything except for what he is: an ukulele strumming surfer dude enjoying the easy life that he paints so vividly in his sunshine pop songs. As Masserman explains in his official bio, "There's a message, a vibe, a feeling that you get with this music. And it feels so good. This is life. This is what we have. This is what we do. We might as well be stoked while we're living. " How can one argue with such positivity? Keepin' It Simple - Eat your fruits and vegetables Star Christian Aherns Oren Masserman's is enjoying "Mango Kisses" off of his latest album release called, Keepin' It Simple. The U.S. Department of Agriculture should be placing the nourishing album on the food pyramid. The iTunes version is the perfect complement to the summer season. The Southern Californian import aka Masserman fits perfectly in the Hawaiian music scene. The ocean is Oren's muse and he brings a certain charm listeners became familiar with by the release his début original album, Spread the Aloha. Oren has been a longtime member of the Surfrider Foundation and is apart of the Maui Chapter. The surfer/sailor and singer/songwriter molds all of his passions into his music. Due to the musician's geography and passions, he is able to use his gift as a forum to spread awareness. The track "Ocean Song" is a piece emphasizing the importance of taking care of the oceans both locally and internationally. The song "Smooth Sails" not only reflects his work with Trilogy, a sailing company, but a breezy song that allows your mind to drift. Most people are completely dependant on electronic devices and nothing is more liberating than going to the beach and hiding beneath the sun without a care in the world for the next forty minutes. His sailing song naturally fits into the Maui beach setting by uplifting the listener. The trio of songs which reappears off of Spread the Aloha definitely round out the vibe of the current album, Keepin' It Simple. "Baja Banditos," is a change of scenery from "Tonight With You," allowing other great coastal regions to be explored lyrically. The song which likely brings his fellow classmates back to memory lane is "8 Sunriver (When We Were Young)" because he is a long way from Southern California. Nonetheless, he never will forget his time in California surrounded by great friends and family. Masserman's enjoyable track "Tonight With You" instantly draws a picture anyone would want to be apart of. Hawaii is a tourist destination and a mushrooming musical scene all wrapped up in one great package. Keepin' It Simple reminds sightseers the importance of enjoying the breathtaking beaches without sounding redundant. Vacationers always enjoy the bar scene with the bevy of talented musicians who decorate the scene with their ukulele's in hand. Take a tour of Keepin' It Simple via iTunes or the website which has four complete tracks that will make you completely relax. When you are stressed out at work and need to unload remember to load your phone with a few simple songs reminding you of a beach somewhere instead of the recycled gust from the air- conditioning vent in your office. Day-trippers enjoy everything from snorkeling to luaus and Oren Masserman's latest album is your passport to a pyramid of nourishing soul food in the form of various lighthearted songs. If you are barefoot on a beach and about to light a bonfire then kick back with your iPod and enjoy simplifying your life. Oren says, "It's the music that reminds us all how to feel good, dream out loud, and smile big."