Music Review: Neon: A Somewhat Adamant Sequel by Eric Heron

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Updated May 17, 2019
All I Know

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Eric Heron is a Cuban-American Hip-Hop artist from San Antonio, Texas. Growing up, Heron played numerous sports and attended Georgetown University on a baseball scholarship. There, he began experimenting in the production and recording of music in his dorm room, eventually producing his debut retail single, 'Be Me'.

Throughout 2017 Heron would go on to release his debut EP, 'Dawn', as well as several singles such as 'Obi-Wan', and 'Bet.' Capping off a strong freshman year, Heron released his debut album 'Afterglow: A Somewhat Complicated Story', which rose up to #35 on the iTunes Hip-Hop charts.

After graduating and receiving his college degree, Heron now pursues music full-time and hopes to impact his listeners and the entirety of music culture with an outpouring of love and positivity through each song he creates.

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Neon: A Somewhat Adamant Sequel by Eric Heron
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This is the sophomore album from Christian Hip-Hop artist Eric Heron and follows up the similarly titled album "Afterglow: A Somewhat Complicated Story". His parents emigrated from Cuba and he was born into mainly Cuban area of Miami Florida. His family life was dominated by a drive to become a baseball player and his Latin-catholic upbringing. The baseball practice paid off and Eric went to Georgetown University as an athlete and student and it was here he discovered Christian music, leading to an understanding that God existed but his faith was weak and college life included many parties and much alcohol. Over time though he realised that what he needed was more of Jesus, and about this time he also developed more interest in music, and the two would sometimes collide. He didn't set out to be a Christian musician, not all his music is about his faith, but it works its way through many of his lyrics.

This is a 9- track album so some people might only consider it to be an EP. There are three tracks that have a running theme with the title, the first is "Take It Over: A Somewhat Adamant Intro", with "Halcyde: A Somewhat Adamant Interlude" sitting at track 5 and track 9 completes the trilogy with "Ironwood Falls: A Somewhat Adamant Outro". With these tracks and the overall title of the album, you've got to believe that being 'adamant', refusing to change one's mind, is a key theme across this release. This first track is a statement of intent that God has freed him from his chains and that he's staying where he is and trusting God. There are a few Biblical and cultural references thrown into the lyrics and it's fairly easy on the ears. So Christian Hip-Hop can be quite harsh on the ears, but the vocals on this are actually well rounded with a pleasant tone. 

When was the last time you heard a rapper or Hip-Hop artist confess "I ain't nothing special"? The normality of these cultures is to talk themselves up, both in lyrics and the style of the videos, lots of beautiful women and gold chains. Eric though realises in the chorus of this song, "All I know" is that he can't save himself, if he is going to be anything then it has to come from something else. Alongside this, the next track speaks to insecurity in himself, written and performed with Caleb Cruise it talks about not fitting into parties and the voices in his head which he would have to drown out. This is a negativity that he used to feel, but halfway through the first verse of "Die Down" he changes to a more positive position. The focus of this is that he could dwell on his haters and let them get at him, but he won't let them bring him down, instead, he will just wait for it to die down. "Vegeta" was the first single to be released from this project back at the beginning of January. I was trying to work out what this song title means and the only reference I can find is to a Dragonball Z anti-hero. The track itself has an almost industrial composition with a very fast flow of lyrics and again lots of references to different cultural elements, not least the title.

So we're just over half-way and we hit the second track with an adamant title. "Halcyon: A Somewhat Adamant Interlude" is a track I never thought I would hear, yes because it references Green Lantern! You'll have to listen to it to find out the reference, it also talks about trusting above "because I'm sure He's got me". Halcyon is a time that you look back to because it was good, and here Eric is looking back to his early days as a Christian and discovering his walk of faith. Life isn't always like that but the fire of faith's early moments can sustain you in harder times. "MKM" is a track that looks at the Christian walk, it's not always plain sailing and smooth! Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin, saying that he does the things he doesn't want to, but doesn't do the things he should (my paraphrase) and here Eric expresses some of that.
"I’m stuck between lies and my soul
I’m stuck between rocks and a hard place
Like dwayne johnson at the bar chase
I drink it all down then part ways
I’m hoping my sins impart grace"
"Legendary" flows some of the influences in his past, this has a great piano based bouncy background which I really loved. There is a lot of versatility across this album and none more than in the track which seems to be about a broken romantic relationship and trying to move on from that. Despite the loss and the pain this song takes us to the place where we have to eventually get to, the world still turns and life still goes on! Even if it feels like everything has ended, it's coming to terms with the loss and looking to the future and finding our worth in God alone and taking heart in the Spirit who is always with us as our Comforter.

The last track is "Ironwood Falls: A Somewhat Adamant Outro" and this takes us right back into Eric's younger days. Ironwood Falls is the name of a street in San Antonio, Texas and this song suggests that this is where Eric grew up, playing ball games outside and messing about with his school mates. Clearly, this is a fond memory but he, like many of us, expresses his wish to know then what he knows now. I think we would all love to impart knowledge to our younger selves, we never thought that this is where we would end up from those carefree days!

One thing that I can see from this album is that Eric is a very versatile artist. There is the rap style at times, but even this almost has a lighter melodic quality to it. As I said earlier in the review nothing really comes across as aggressive, but there are a couple of tracks that feel more gloomy and brooding, particularly at the start. This feels very different to many hip-hop albums and I cannot totally put my finger on why, but I know that I like it, even if I don't understand all of it. The more I have listened to it the more I have understood it and some of the songs are close to my journey at the moment! Hip-Hop might not be your thing, but some of these songs may still speak to you, so have a listen.

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