Review: Heartfelt “Mixtape” just in time for summer

Florence's Will & The Prodigal Sun write the ultimate love note

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Just in time for summer, Florence band Will & the Prodigal Sun have bestowed upon us the perfect summer jam playlist appropriately named “Mixtape.”

In a word, “Mixtape” is twinkly. Each song almost seems to sparkle between the bursts of power and the gentle piano notes. Will Simpkins’ voice is soothing, and each word is heartfelt, heartbreaking and heartwarming simultaneously.

Lyrically, “Mixtape” is a love note, as the album title would imply. Each song is one of love, the struggle to move on and navigating nostalgia and life in general as a young adult in 2018.

The album starts with a bright burst of energy from Simpkins, whose range and passion are made clear in “Crazy for You.” A prominent piano melody carries the song, while vocal melodies are primed for a singalong. These melodies continue into tracks like “Worth a Try,” where an angsty bridge will have you yelling along.

Similarly, the chorus of “Time” is a powerful strum of chords and drawn out notes that will resonate hours after listening. The song’s bridge mounts from a dark yet angelic pounding into a victorious, soothing power ballad.

After the aggressive head bobbing listeners will likely endure after the first couple of songs, “With You” is a welcome calm, gently easing listeners to the end of the seven-song album, where they hear a surprise. “I’m Feeling Fine” stylistically pays homage to The Shoals, where a bluegrassy ensemble is strong enough to keep a country audience’s interest piqued. Even the lyrics paint a picture of a peaceful, cool night stargazing:


The planets are all aligned

We’ve got some music and got some wine

It ain’t much but it’s enough today and I’m feeling fine


“Mixtape” is reminiscient of the 2005 singer-songwriter/emo pop millennials can recall instantly. Will & The Prodigal Sun’s style is comparable to such influential artists as Mae, Straylight Run, Jack’s Mannequin and The Spill Canvas. And as for Will & The Prodigal Sun? They’re headed in the right direction to have their name added to that influential list.

“Mixtape” is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.