Album: "Change of Scenery II" by Quinn XCII
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Run Time: 34 Minutes
Label: Columbia Records
Reviewer's Rating: A-
After sitting inside using Zoom and constantly writing discussion posts for a year, I think most of the world could use a change in scenery. Since going out into crowds still isn’t safe, “A Change of Scenery II” by Quinn XCII will have to make do for now. Quinn released this follow-up to his debut EP on March 5.
Quinn's newest album will make people want to go on a drive with friends without a destination in mind. It might provide more than just a change of scenery for your ears: It offers a new perspective and reminds you there's nothing wrong with a short break. "Change of Scenery II" makes you want to forget about anything you're dealing with currently, even for just a little while, in exchange for a bit of fun.
The album opens with a short intro that leads into the first song, “Distracted Youth.” Quinn sings about his fears throughout this song — his fear of complacency and his fear of wasting time through the lyrics, “so I bought / several appearances I tell myself will fill the void in my heart.”
“My Wife & 2 Dogs” and “Mexico City" are about leaving a situation you feel trapped in for an amazing adventure with a loved one. In "Mexico City" Quinn sings, "'Do we wanna stay?' and he goes, 'Yes, we do.'” Both songs emphasize escapism. But escaping is rarely about looking for something better rather than leaving something worse.
“Stay Next To Me" with Chelsea Cutler is another song dealing with escapism, but this time through another person instead of needing an adventure far away. The song details two people at a party deciding they need to leave, but they don’t know where they want to go. In "Stay Next To Me," Quinn and Cutler sing, “We should go somewhere / You choose, I don't care.”
“SOS” comes from someone worried about their partner. The one telling the story clearly does not know what to do and wonders if they are the one to blame. They would do anything for their partner to feel alright again. Per the lyrics to, “I’ll wait here no matter how long.”
“Hey, Goodbye” can almost be listened to as a follow-up of "FFYL" from the first "Change of Scenery" album. "FFYL" is about a couple breaking up after college due to their careers. During the chorus of "Hey, Goodbye," Quinn sings, “Then you left me this spring / Grabbed your clothes and packed your things,” which seems like a reference to the couple. It seems like Quinn has finally come to terms with how that relationship ended.
The album focuses on self-reflection and escapism during unfortunate circumstances. But "Look How Far We've Come," the last song of the album, serves as a look back on the progress Quinn has made since graduating college with the lyric, “'Cause we both got rich since leaving campus.”
"Look How Far We've Come" ends with an interlude from Quinn talking about what song he will be remembered for while music from “Another Day in Paradise,” a song from the first "Change of Scenery," album plays. The album ends with a door closing, bringing one part of Quinn's life to a close and beginning another.
The album all together is a look back at simpler times. It serves as a reminder of when crowds and concerts were safe and fun, and it is the perfect album to listen to now that it has been a year since our "normal." While the album makes for perfect driving music, none of the music screams, "get up and dance with your friends." For the very least, new listeners of Quinn XCII's new album will have a change of scenery in their ears.