Jeff Scott Soto – Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Album Review)

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Now entering the final phase of the strangest, most difficult, and different year humanity has lived in a very long time, it is consoling to know that at least some things never change. One of them is the fortune of having new music by the highly prolific rock singer Jeff Scott Soto, who returns with a new offering once again. This time, he teamed up with producer and multi-instrumentalist Alessandro Del Vecchio to deliver Soto’s seventh solo album called “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)”.

Being as prolific as Jeff is, gives him the chance to participate in countless projects that, whether he plays an active role or contributes as a special guest, allows him to display his voice’s prowess across several genres. Some of such outlets grant him the possibility to innovate and push a certain genre’s sonic boundaries. Still, there are also those offerings that fulfill everything of what is expected of them, sometimes with a high note, as in the case of “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)”, with its melodic and hard rock direction.

Anyone familiar with Soto’s previous solo releases may know what to expect towards his latest work. In a way, “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” is the culmination of the musical elements showcased through the previous six records. The result seems to be a musical wish list of Jeff’s fan-base since it develops through the recognizable blending of melodic rock, AOR, and hard rock that Soto is well known for pulling out with mastery, this time enriched with Del Vecchio‘s insight.

The eleven songs that compose this new album display the always impressive Soto‘s voice, who, with deep emotion, sings about life, love, bittersweet sentiments, daily life struggles, and on some occasions, human emotions with some uplifting and encouraging perspective. In regards to the music, “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” presents several “made in Soto” elements, such as gracious melodies, hooky choruses, powerful riffs, and outstanding guitar solos. 

Speaking of the guitar work, the inclusion of guitarist Fabrizio Sgattoni certainly elevates the music to a higher level. The Italian guitarist’s chops range from subtle phrases to frenetic riffs, from delightful grooves to virtuoso solos. I was not aware of such brilliant musician, and from my perspective, he permeates the album with a refreshing and exciting aura that highlights Soto‘s voice’s magnificence. 

“Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” Album Artwork

The new songs may be classified into three main groups. For instance, “Love’s Blind” represents Jeff‘s expertise in creating instant anthems with a bunch of melodic hooks, a great guitar solo, and a catchy chorus, resulting from the blending of AOR and hard rock elements. Another type of song comes in the form of “Desperate”, which finds him and the band getting heavier, from the initial dense riff, along with Jeff‘s raw and direct voice, and concluding with the vanishing guitar solo, such track depicts the heavy aspect of “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)”. The final type of song is the closest to a ballad, as in the case of “Without you”, where a piano provides the main motif and the rest of the instruments highlights the bittersweet beauty of this melancholic and heartfelt tune, with a strong Queen’s vibe. Jeff said in a recent interview with us that he consider this track to be the most accurate magnificent exponent of the music in this album. 

Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” is what everyone familiarized with Soto‘s solo offering can imagine to be, but just BETTER. The songs crafted by Jeff and Del Vecchio take into consideration the celebrated musical conceptions known from Soto‘s solo career and deliver them in a fitter and brilliant way. The new album includes a bonus live album recorded at Frontiers Rock Festival in 2019, so such album’s appeal becomes even more irresistible.

Released by: Frontiers Music Srl
Released Date: November 6th, 2020.
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

 Musicians:

  •  Alessandro Del Vecchio / Bass, keys, guitars, backing vocals
  • Fabrizio Sgattoni / Guitars
  • Edu Cominato / Drums
  • Jeff Scott Soto / Vocals
  • August Zadra / backing vocals, lead guitar on ‘Between The Lines’

 “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” Tracklist:

CD 1: 

  1. Someone To Love
  2. Mystified
  3. Love’s Blind
  4. Without You
  5. Lesson Of Love
  6. Paper Wings
  7. Love Will Find A Way
  8. Between The Lines
  9. Living In A Dream
  10. Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)
  11. Desperate

CD2: 

  1. Drowning (live)
  2. 21St Century (live)
  3. Believe In Me (live)
  4. Look Inside Your Heart (live)
  5. Eyes Of Love (live)
  6. Band Intros (live)
  7. Soul Divine (live)
  8. Our Song (live)
  9. Holding On (live)
  10. I’ll Be Waiting (live)
  11. Stand Up – feat. Dino Jelusick (live)

8.5 Excellent

The new solo album by exceptional singer Jeff Scott Soto feels like an a la carte dish prepared with the very best of the celebrated sonic ingredients that Soto is well known for, surprisingly seasoned with Del Vecchio´s delicious secret sauce. Be ready to fulfill your AOR, high-energy, and hard rock appetite with the latest creation by the renowned melodic cuisine established by these two chef stars

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8
  • Production 8.5
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