And so we’ve reached the precipice. White is a different animal than the other color EPs. Black was resolutely dark and electronic. Red was grungy. Orange had organs and indulgent solos. Yellow was summery pop. Green was folky. Blue was stripped down and melancholy. Indigo was moody electronics. Purple was basically b-sides to Act III. White? White is transcendent, epic indie rock, plain and simple. Four tracks, clean, unburdened, free of any sort of gimmicky influence. If there was any EP that needed to be a full-length, it’s White.
Thematically, its an ending. It’s a resolution, which The Color Spectrum has been so sorely lacking. Songs of forgiveness, togetherness, acceptance. As I said all the way back in Black, we typically associate black with endings. Films fade to black. You see only black when you close your eyes. Yet, White is Crescenzo’s definitive color for an ending, and that’s because here, white represents that ever-present undercurrent of hope that pervades The Color Spectrum. White is an ending, but also the beginning of something entirely new, and entirely mysterious. It’s not a fade-to-black, finite end; just another transition. But I’m spoiling the coming songs.
"Home" begins very subdued. The instrumentation is spare, but rich: bass, piano and guitar wash in and out as waves over a steady, slow, pronounced drumbeat. The first chorus is equally as subdued, but each repetition of it expands and gathers force, adding layers of vocal harmonies, bellowing instruments, and Crescenzo doing what he does best, until the bridge and final chorus climax in grand fashion, desperately loud and emotionally taxing. The song finds its subject near death, "As your eyes begin to fade, your mind will wander: this life is just a game we play, that we can never win," but is reassuring, repeating, "But don’t give up, no, don’t give up." As the instrumentation peaks, Crescenzo sings at the top of his lungs, "Now in the end it’s coming clear, you’re not alone. ‘Cause everyone you’ve ever loved is waiting here for you. So don’t give up, no don’t give up." It’s clear that the "Home" spoken of must be heaven, and the message is just as clear: even in the end, never stop hoping, don’t succumb to cynicism, "help is on the way."
"Fall and Flee" addresses death more directly, with its opening lines, "We all become memories after having gone, dancing in the light flickering behind their eyes." We all leave legacies when we die, differing in size and impact, but each and every one of us makes our own unique impact upon this world, and most importantly, those around us. Crescenzo sings of his own impact: "I’m hoping it’s showing, my heart never stopped growing. I’ll take comfort in knowing this melody has never been sung with these words." Another song with very spare instrumentation and massive, full choruses, Crescenzo gets another chance to show off his monstrous vocal chords, but also his range and control.
"No God" is a very quiet, personal track at the outset. With just a few piano chords as accompaniment, Crescenzo sings, "No god could teach me what my father did. No promise of heaven kept me warm when my mother tucked me in. No hope for salvation kept me from sin." The instrumentation swells to an early climax as he continues, "And what comes next is a mystery to me. I guess I’ll have to wait and see, ‘cause everything I ever knew could just fall apart." And just as quickly as the build-up constructed its towering presence, it crumbles away to almost nothingness as Crescenzo explains just what he knows: "I only know what I’ve been told, and I was told what others know, and others know what they were told, and they were told what others know," before resolutely adding, "And I’ll wait to tell what’s wrong or right." After a moment of silence, the song explodes and repeats its important message once more. However, "No God" isn’t about rejecting God, religion, or those who practice it. It’s about having a strong sense of self-reliance and personal ethics. It’s about believing in yourself, living the way you feel is right. But ultimately, it’s about living for yourself, so "no fear of dying" keeps you alive. It’s an empowering, powerful song. If "Home" and "Fall and Flee" involve coming to terms with and accepting death, "No God" is a resolute statement of belief, standing strong and never compromising in the face of death.
In direct contrast to the concreteness of “No God,” the closing track “Lost But Not All Gone” has some of the most surreal lyrics across the entirety of The Color Spectrum. Inscrutable lines like, “Come here mister, take in no love, even if it canvases so,” or, “Can I not torment this with a canon of assisted duress?” litter the verses. Instrumentally, the song opens at a crawl, but begins to gallop with a sense of urgency and desire, crescendoing with one last bright, melodious, massive chorus. However, the lines that do make perfect sense stick out that much more as a result: “Waiting for my soul to stir, and wake, rejoice, and come alive again.” Like so many songs on The Color Spectrum, the subject of this song is once again waiting for a change, waiting for something in their soul to stir. In the context of death, so pervasive on White, this could be a very literal line— the speaker is patiently awaiting his moment of ascension. I prefer to think it’s just one more jaded individual searching, hoping for a spark to set their life back into motion, begging: “Give me anything but apathy, or love and curse.”
And as the final track gives way to silence, The Color Spectrum comes to an end. If Black had ended the collection of EPs, it would end on a depressing, pessimistic note. “Filth and Squalor” laments corruption, while “This Body” is a song of torment and desperation for release, for death, really. White ends on a blank slate, on possibility, on a craving to live life— hope for the future. It’s really the most fitting way to end a project such as this.
Thanks for reading along with me. It’s been illuminating, discovering so much about these 36 songs. And I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface. I’d also like to thank Mr. Crescenzo, his band mates, and everyone who helped him finish The Color Spectrum along the way. I hope, if he reads any of this, that I’ve done his work some justice.
I’ve got another blog project in store, so stay tuned!