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Album Review: The Art Of Revenge by Joey Harkum

Album Review: The Art Of Revenge by Joey Harkum
Joey Harkum (Photo courtesy the artist)

For those who know of Joey Harkum, the anticipation for his fourth studio album (release date: March 1, 2024) The Art of Revenge has been palpable. For those who don’t, you have no idea what you’re missing. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Joey Harkum is known for his work in the band Pasadena and has since been working on his solo project. With an indie Americana sound and relatable lyrics, this album is sure to be included in a lot of playlists going forward. 

In Joey’s own words, the album is about the darker chapter of Joey’s life, focusing in on the trauma and mistakes of his past and accepting the consequences of his actions in an effort to move forward and live better for himself and his family. This is incredibly evident as we walk through the album, following the story closely through the bad moments, struggles, and hopes for the future. 

Opening with the song “Without You in My Way,” we start off the story with Joey’s dreams to make it in life, and the struggles of addiction being that barrier to making it happen. Featuring a slower, almost somber yet hopeful melody, the message is clear through the lyrics, “Falling back to you, my old familiar friend, I always knew it would be true, that you’d come back and haunt me in the end…” and “I don’t gamble, but I’d bet, that I could have been somebody without you in my way,” that we’re supposed to see how addiction slowed down the successes that could have been, freezing Joey in a stasis rather than seeing him progress the way he’d dreamed of. 

The next song, titular track “The Art Of Revenge” on the other hand, kicks up the beat creating a dichotomy between where Joey was in the first song as he reflected on that time of his life and where he is now. Starting off strong with the lyrics “I was a young man once, killed everything I touched, I never gave a f**k about anything but me… shame was the name they gave me… I’m spending my time on the art of revenge,”  we see a clear difference in his headspace. Now he has grown and put addiction behind him, shifting his focus to getting his version of revenge- a life well lived despite what anyone else had to say. With the fast tempo and sing-along anthem lyrics, this is probably one of the most relatable tracks on the album, as everyone has had an experience where the best revenge to all the haters was a to be the bigger person and just live a better life than they thought you ever could. 

The album continues this kind of dichotomy through Joey’s stories of his life. We see happier songs like “Life Is a Gift,” where we’re reminded to stop and smell the roses and just enjoy this short life we have, and then move into harder more upbeat songs like “Built on Lies” where we’re supposed reject the idea that working hard making money and constantly grinding to reach the top is the goal when  the goal is actually a life well lived with happy memories. 

Watch the official music video for “Life Is a Gift” by Joey Harkum on YouTube:

The single from the album, “Hold On” featuring Bumpin Uglies, is a hopeful anthem about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After all the struggles and setbacks, it’s the feeling in your chest when you can suddenly take a full breath and know that if you just make it a little longer, everything is going to fall into place and that in the end it will be worth it. 

Overall, this album has a little bit of everything and something for everyone. To me, there aren’t many albums that are so relatable and poignant that they will resonate with any audience, but this is one of those very few. I believe that this album will stand proudly with his previous work and receive the same critical acclaim, if not more. It truly is a work of art that takes the listener on a journey through struggles with addiction and bad relationships, acceptance of past mistakes, and hope for the future. With ups and downs just like in life, this album reminds us that despite all the hardships we go through, and the negativity in the world, the best revenge is living a happy and fulfilling life.

In March, Joey Harkum tours in support of The Art of Revenge. Catch him at Baltimore Sounstage on Saturday, March 16.

Buy your tickets online now!

Joey Harkum
W/ Pressing Strings, Bond & Bentley
Baltimore Soundstage
Saturday, March 16
Show @ 8pm
All ages

May be an image of text that says 'The Art of Revenge Joey Harkum 2/23 Portland, ME 2/24 Worcester, MA 3/15- Asbury Park, NJ 3/16- Baltimore, MD 3/21 Syracuse, NY 3/22- Cleveland, oH 3/23 Pittsburgh, PA 3/26- -Indianapolis, IN 3/27 -Chicago,I 3/29 Denver, CO 3/30 Pueblo, CO 4/2 Seattle, WA Portland, OR 4/4-Redding, CA 4/5 Brentwood, CA 4/6 Sacremento, CA 4/7 Fresno, CA 4/9- Bay, CA 4/10 Costa Mesa, CA 4/11 San Diego, CA 4/12- 4/12-Phoenix,AZ Phoenix, 4/13 -Prescott,AZ 4/17- Reno, OK 4/19- Madison, IN 4/20- Newark, oH 5/8 Atlanta, GA 5/9 -Charleston, SC 5/10- Raleigh, NC 5/11- Wilmington, NC TICKETS AND INFO AT JOEYHARKUM.COM'


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