Don’t expect loud, bombastic Rent II from Anthony Rapp’s debut solo effort Look Around. He may be the Mark Cohen in Rent, but musically, the real Anthony Rapp is a mix of REM and matchbox twenty.
The first track, Living Alive soon sets the atmosphere – this ain’t no post-Rent party, this is a rock party. Less heavy that fellow Rent alumni Adam Pascal’s debut, Rapp nonetheless gives a convincing turn as a rock star in tunes like Human Tornado and the title track.
But if I am disappointed that he is hiding his voice between vocal loops and layers, there’re ballads to make up for it. Just Some Guy is a playful (if too sweet) tribute to a boyfriend. My favorite ballad and track in this album is the melancholic midtempo Always. The chorus is perfect for drunken singalongs when you are depressed and lonely.
I don’t know what to expect when I bought Look Around, but I must say it’s a pleasant surprise. Look Around has some rough edges that can be polished here and there, but it’s a pretty enjoyable album nonetheless. Although I suspect those looking for Mark Cohen’s music, and not Anthony Rapp’s, will be very disappointed with this one.