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Unfortunately Steven is the pseudonym of Los Angeles experimental pop musician Steven Ramirez, and his ambitious new concept album is entitled Groovy Avocado Disco (an acronym for Generalized Anxiety Disorder). The album has all of the quirky 60s baroque pop of Harry Nilsson, Van Dyke Parks, and the Beach Boys, and its conceptual unity is inspired by albums like The Point! and Pet Sounds. The unifying theme here is of the artist’s own struggle with mental health, self-describing the album as an extended therapy session, and interspersed throughout are actual recordings between Ramirez and his therapist.
It goes without saying that it is brave to be this honest and transparent about a subject that many still struggle to talk about openly, but this is also nothing short of a fantastic record. The content is undoubtedly important, but Unfortunately Steven has the hooks and the talent to pull it off in grand style. There’s the carnivalesque of “Me In My Mind,” the mod of “Strawberries and Rain,” and the surprising burst of punk on “Peace of Shit” (a self-deprecating mindset anyone with anxiety can relate to), but throughout it all is the presence of a kind of consummate pop craftsman that rarely exists anymore.
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