Album Review: Billy Cullum – Whatever Happened Next

Billy Cullum’s “Whatever Happened Next” is a heartfelt journey that spans from introspective adolescence to the trials and triumphs of queer adulthood. Cullum, who wrote all of the songs on the album, employs an artful blend of folk-pop and modern influences to create a narrative tapestry that is both personal and relatable, particularly for the queer community and their allies. The album’s ten tracks are a dynamic exploration of relationships, sexuality, mental health, and identity, showcasing Cullum’s talent for translating lived experiences into engaging pop narratives.

“Whatever Happened Next” kicks off with a touch of nostalgia, its sound rooted in the familiar sonic territories of ’90s pop. But as the album progresses, it swells, each song building upon the last, and it culminates in an anthemic climax that rings with epic backing vocals, euphoric drum beats, and Cullum’s soft yet soaring vocals. The music, produced by J MAC with additional writing from Kaity Rae, is carefully crafted to match the emotional ebb and flow of the narrative arc, oscillating between shimmering acoustic guitar and stirring pop arrangements. However, the real charm of this album lies not just in its polished production, but in its emotional resonance. Cullum’s intention to create “queer, heartfelt pop” is realized in every track, and the result is an album that feels personal, authentic, and deeply affecting. Now, we’ll take a look at the lyrics to delve further into the narrative and themes of “Whatever Happened Next”.

“Whatever Happened Next” by Billy Cullum is a deeply introspective and emotive album that marries pop sensibilities with introspective lyrics. The album combines an immersive sonic landscape with Cullum’s earnest songwriting, resulting in an expressive musical journey. His ability to delve into and explore human emotion is amplified through the lyrics you provided.

“GOLD” brings listeners to the innocence of youth, capturing the simplicity of childhood games and the purity of young dreams. It reflects on the transitional journey from youth to adulthood, when the world starts imposing its realities. The track is filled with nostalgia, expressing a longing for simpler times when life was like gold.

“WHATEVER HAPPENED NEXT” is a dramatic portrayal of facing adversity and hardship. The lyrics depict struggle against external forces – like a storm, metaphorical for life’s challenges – and yet holds a powerful message of resilience. It highlights the idea of dancing under the weather, suggesting that one can find joy and strength even amid life’s storms.

“SAY MY NAME” explores the complexities of infatuation, capturing the intoxicating and confusing feelings of falling for someone. The lyrics exhibit a deep yearning for reciprocation and the longing to be noticed by the object of affection. It seems to encapsulate the quintessential unrequited love story.

“TWISTED” dwells into the turmoil of a toxic relationship, evoking the painful ambivalence of loving and hating someone at the same time. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, expressing the struggle to let go and the torment of holding onto painful memories.

“THE KEY” depicts the pain of a secret love story that didn’t get its happy ending. It’s a ballad of unexpressed love and longing, reflecting on the heartache of a love kept hidden. The song seems to be a lament over a love lost due to societal constraints or personal fears.

“CRASHED INTO YOU” describes a love story that ended in disaster, using the metaphor of a car crash to reflect the catastrophic end of a once beautiful relationship. It depicts the heartbreak and devastation felt when a love that once seemed unstoppable hits an abrupt halt.

Each song in the album holds its unique narrative, yet when pieced together, they form a cohesive journey of love, heartbreak, nostalgia, and resilience. In conclusion, “Whatever Happened Next” is an emotional roller-coaster that pushes boundaries and resonates deeply with listeners. Billy Cullum’s ability to infuse authenticity into his music is commendable, making the album an evocative and poignant piece of art. Its beauty lies in its relatability and emotive strength, making it a remarkable addition to Billy Cullum’s discography.

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