William Steffey’s album, Roadstar, has reached moderate success. Produced by Aquariphone Records, it is played on 210 radio stations nationwide and was the third most added album the week in hit college radio. Feelings are divided about his music — you either hate it with a passion or you are in awe of it. I am leaning more towards the former.
Not to say that Steffey has no talent. His 11-track album definitely showcases his wonderful writing and one can tell that he is very into what he is doing. His lyrics, while enchanting, would be much better as a book of poetry, rather than being drowned out by confused progressions of melodies.
Steffey also simply says the words, rather than singing them, for the most part. The strength of the album lies mostly in its overall feel. The songs are all haunting, with a dark grim feel to them.
His style combines rock, pop, electronica and jazz. Steffey describes his music as “Sade meets Tool,” and others have suggested similarities to early No Doubt, Ben Folds Five, Deep Blue Something and Marvelous 3.
Steffey himself has been called “[David] Bowie-esque.”
The album is soothing enough that I could listen to it as I fell asleep last night. As the tracks progress, the songs get a little catchier and little less “experimental.”
It is also amazing to realize that he does absolutely everything on his album. Besides producing, he performs all of the music, writing and performing.
The best songs on the album are “City of Heroes,” “Ashland,” and “Diabetic.”
A confusing mix of metaphors and similes, “City of Heroes” is just another example of the dark, sad feel of the album. “Ashland” is a love story/city song, whose lyrics reminded me slightly of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” and the like.
“Diabetic” is a painfully sad song about a diabetic girl. “World’s Tallest Building,” also one of the better songs, is completely instrumental, full of the Steffey techno beats.
There is almost virtually no biographical information about William Steffey, other than the fact that he is a Chicago-area musician who is planning on concert dates in the near future, probably for the most part around the Chicago coffeehouse circuit. The album is available is select music stores and on www.amazon.com and www.cdnow.com. For more information, tour dates and downloads, go to www.williamsteffey.com or www.aquariphone.com.
– Megan Close