[All images courtesy of Marc Ambrosia]
From the age of five, Marc Ambrosia knew he wanted to make a name for himself in the music industry. In 2011, after his mother’s drug addiction and passing, plus the death of his best friend due to cancer, Marc decided it was time to turn to music “in an effort to restore” himself, and he started seriously writing.
The result of this writing resulted in Footprints, Marc’s first studio album released in 2015. On the supporting tour, Marc performed at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and other notable venues.
In 2018, Marc Ambrosia continued his rise by putting the SNJ Millennials’ “Trendsetter Award” under his belt.
Now, Marc Ambrosia’s latest album, Unleashed, is his main focus, as he believes it’s “the best stuff [he’s] ever done.”
“Let Me Be Your Secret” starts the album off strong with Marc Ambrosia’s catchy chorus and high-reaching vocals. A perfect pop bop, the track features interesting synth patterns and vocal harmonies meant to make listeners swoon as Marc sings: “Let me be your secret/Society told you to make your choice/You can love or can have loved and lost it/So you said, let’s go to Boston.” The variations in the instrumentals throughout the song keep it interesting, but the repetition of some vocal lines makes sure “Let Me Be Your Secret” is also a great song to sing along to.
The acoustic guitar lines in the introduction of “Picture of a Girl” set the scene for a song of quiet strength. Written in the form of an apology—”Don;t be mad at me/I’m writing you this song as an apology/I know it all felt crazy and it doesn’t make sense/I was hoping one day you’d be more than my best friend”—the track feels honest and down to earth. The theme keeps the song’s lyrics centered nicely, and the lyrics feel like something you could read in a long-ago love letter. Some of the vocal harmonies feel like too much for “Picture of a Girl,” as they seem out of place in the otherwise relatively bare-bones track. I would have preferred it to err on the simple side throughout the whole song.
I appreciate the bassline in “Bleed,” although I wish it was a bit higher in the mix. This track is one of my favorites from Unleashed for its driving energy and groovy instrumentals. The drum beats and bassline work nicely together with the other elements of the backing to support Marc’s voice as it tickles up and down the scales. As a whole, the track feels very solid and complete, a testament to not only good musicianship, but great production.
The title of “Pisces and the Scorpio” intrigued me before I even listened to the track: it’s definitely a stand out name. The song itself is a quietly powerful ballad that builds into beautiful, sweeping crescendos and decrescendos that aren’t the biggest, but have the perfect effect. Marc’s voice is really shown off in “Pisces and the Scorpio,” the slow, rocking tempo allowing his vocals to blend gracefully over each measure, accentuating the lyrics’ simple beauty: “One more step/One more fall/One last tear/One last call/Gimme time/Gimme love…” Marc’s voice is at its best during ballads such as this one.
Marc Ambrosia’s gospel origins are clear from the full-bodied vocal lines of “One Step Back.” Based on the classic theme of an unattainable love, the lyrics weave a story of what is left afterwards: “We came so close, or so I thought/ But the miracle withdrew/One step back left me here/With all these hopes left empty/I gave you the space you needed/Now you’re running away.” The juxtaposition between the subdued instrumental lines works exceptionally well to allow Marc’s voice to soar freely. “One Step Back” would be a great first song to show someone to get them into Marc Ambrosia’s music.
“Painting the Shape of My Heart” takes the album into a new aesthetic. With spacey synth tones and repeated harmonies, it feels very different from the previous songs of Unleashed, and quite honestly, a bit messy. While it was too busy for my taste, this track might be appealing to fans of artists like Coldplay, the Chainsmokers, and Avicii. “Painting the Shape of My Heart” could be a great way to get people on the dance floor at a party, or a wonderful radio track, but, with respect, it’s not for me, and was my least favorite part of the album.
I’m a fan of the bass intro to “World With You.” The dissonance it creates intrigued me, but it also mixed well with the guitar line when it began. The song itself is a little unexpected based on Marc’s other tracks, but this could be down to song order, and a relatively easy fix. Another fun, jam-packed track, “World With You” evokes images of those cute travel couples that everyone secretly wants to be like: “All I wanna do is see the world with you…/We can go to England, we can go to Italy/Anywhere for you/Anywhere with me.” The phrasing Marc utilized in this track was surprising and had the right amount of rub to keep it unexpected and fresh.
“Garden of the Vine” takes us back to the musical themes found in the majority of Unleashed. The acoustic melodies are very comforting and fitting for a song that features nature. When matched with Marc Ambrosia’s light, airy vocals, the whole song feels twinkling and green. The lyrics are interesting to listen to as well: “Time we spent deciding/Finding strength to cross the line/Won’t take this love for granted/It is a tree-faced planet/Here in the garden of the vine.”
“I Believe in Destiny” is groovy in a great way to show off the range of Marc’s vocal styles. The instrumental lines (especially the bass part!) are interesting to listen to throughout the song and do a wonderful job of pushing it forward. Marc’s vocals are more aggressive, showing us a different side from his typical crooning ballad-style vocals. The phrasing of lyrics and overall layout of the song makes it sound professional and well thought out. “I Believe in Destiny” is another stand-out song in Unleashed.
“The Hardest Part” is another great example of Marc Ambrosia’s talent for slow songs. Marc’s vocals are the center of attention in “The Hardest Part,” especially in the subdued beginning of the song. The sudden crescendo of the chorus is a great injection of energy to the piece; without the contrast, the song would be dull and sound like many of the other tracks out there. “The Hardest Part” feels like a second-to-last song thanks to its infusion of unique sound while still keeping many of the themes taken from other parts of the album.
“Send the Hurt Away” is the final track of Unleashed. Bringing the album to a close with a heartfelt love song, Marc Ambrosia’s vocals sound like something from a Broadway musical. With his gospel and blues influences, Marc belts out the lyrics to “Send the Hurt Away” easily: “But there’s so much more than love in a love song/I’ve been trying to hide the sorrow from my face/I’ve been trying to let the tears I have fall down without a trace…” “Send the Hurt Away” is the perfect song to end Unleashed with a finality.
Marc plans to shop Unleashed to independent and commercial record labels for consideration, something he feels he’s finally ready for.
“The idea of pursuing a record label used to scare” him, but Marc Ambrosia has decided he has “a finished product [he] can hold [his] head up high with, and [he refuses] to let it fall through the cracks.”
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***Like all of my reviews, a submission fee was charged for this post***