“I fought for this record,” confesses singer-songwriter Todd Carey. The acclaimed artist set out to make a career-defining album with Future Throwback (Blaster Records). His quest spanned three years, tracking in four states, shelving three records and feverishly writing 70 songs. The outcome is a euphoric pop record that’s playfully irreverent and brimming with sleek urban beats and swaggering pop hooks. Rarely has an artist been this serious about showing his audience a good time.
“When I look back on making this album, I feel I achieved my goal as a writer,” Carey says. “I sleep well at night because I made this record.”
The New York-based artist previously hit the top forty iTunes charts with his 2010 EP release After the Morning After. In support of his 2007 debut, Watching Waiting (Fontana), he played over 250 dates—with sellout shows in Chicago and Wisconsin—dazzling audiences with his pop song smarts, masterful guitar playing and exuberant stage presence. Carey has toured nationally and performed on stage with such diverse artists as Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Marc Broussard, Brendan James, Jason Reeves, Keaton Simons and Matt Duke. Since 2010 he has been a fixture at the annual Hotel Carolina music festival. His music has been featured in MTV's The Real World and movies such as Palo Alto and True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet.
Future Throwback is the culmination of all this past work and the album feels like a celebration of self-realization. It’s Todd Carey in Technicolor—the purest and most vibrant representation of his live show, charming, flirtatious, frisky and bubbling over with good vibes.
The leadoff single “Nintendo” is the invitation to the party. On it, Todd flows sugary rhymes and, with 1980s retro whimsy, name checks Captain Crunch, Battleship, and shoes with pumps. “We wanted to keep things sexy with the grooves and beats and fun with those throwback lyrics,” Carey says of the tune’s intent. “Those references, mixed with the modern sensibility of the track, create a really cool modern/retro juxtaposition that lives throughout the record.”
Overall, it’s an assured and expansive album. Carey emancipates himself from genre confines and applies his refined songcraft to a mix of beat-driven pop, brawny rock riffage, intimate singer-songwriter moments and a potpourri of urban-flavored blends. He smolders on the R&B-flavored mid tempo “Dead and Gone,” eases back with balmy reggaeton on “Light Her Up” and swanks on the stadium rocker “Forget Ya.”
During the writing process, Carey found a complimentary talent in top-line writer and lyricist K Nita. The two were introduced via Kanye West recording engineer Ken Lewis and forged an instant connection. “The ‘eureka’ moment was writing ‘Light Her Up’ together in 30 minutes. We knew we had something great and just kept collaborating after that,” he explains. “Together we brought out the melody, humor, pocket and style necessary to create the body of work I was looking for.”
Though Future Throwback is meticulously modern, its origins are old school organic. Each track Carey wrote in the studio, he would debut live to gauge its potency. He thoroughly road tested 70 songs and carved out an eleven-song album from the tracks that had that instant jolt of artist-to-audience electricity. Taken has a whole, the album is refreshingly eclectic, a distinct mélange of urban bounce and pop-rock strut. To make his vision seamless, Carey oversaw production duties alongside varied but compatible producers Adam Smith (Jason Reeves, Jordin Sparks, Danny Gokey) and Aaron Johnson (Secondhand Serenade, Katie Herzig, Eve6, The Fray).
“I set out to make an album that reflects me—playing these songs makes me feel alive. This has been the most painstaking, frustrating and, ultimately, rewarding artistic process,” Carey says. “It has established my identity for the rest of my life.”