Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and musical mastermind RJ Thompson has today released his highly anticipated third studio album, Yearbook – listen here. The full, 12-track record follows the release of critically acclaimed cuts ‘Forest Fires’, ‘Rescue You’, ‘Feel Alive,’ ‘Super 8’ and ‘Your Money Or Your Life’ which launched RJ’s brand new era and his first new music since 2020’s Official UK Top 5 sophomore album Lifeline.
Like most of us, the artist from the North East of England spent much of the previous two years hemmed in by his own four walls. Despite being physically restricted, the headspace it granted inspired dreams, reflection and ultimately the music he would now prepare to release as his most ambitious and expansive yet. “I was stuck in a room writing songs on my piano but I was dreaming of something much bigger,” he explains of the horizon-filling sounds of the new record. “Ultimately, for the most part, we’ve all been stuck in rooms for two years, but we were dreaming of all these places we hadn’t been to for ages, all the people we hadn’t seen. Dreaming of a much bigger world outside the door is essentially what I’ve been doing with this record.”
Musically, this was quite literally the case.
While RJ was writing songs at his piano, in his head he was hearing saxophones, string quartets, big guitar moments and more across the twelve tracks that would become the magnificently instrumented Yearbook. A masterful catalog of songwriting, RJ packs together optimistic lyricism with impassioned vocals on the LP, combining a plethora of differing sonics for the listener to unpack throughout the record. The result? A collection of hook-driven, electronic-tinged pop-rock anthems with intelligent synth motifs, nostalgic guitar solos and cinematic strings; a timeless record with the original RJ Thompson stamp. With Yearbook, RJ becomes a maestro at creating music that successfully combines relevant and relatable concepts with euphoric pop sensibilities.
RJ’s storytelling prowess is ultimately what makes Yearbook both a sign of the time, and universally relatable of life as it was and how it continues to be: “It is not a record about lockdowns, but it references a lot of what’s happened in the last couple of years without being too on the nose. There’s a lot of reference to loss. Loss of people, loss of time, loss of confidence. The title track is essentially about two people who we sadly lost last year, but there is also a feeling of getting back to life too. Getting back out into the wider world.”
Yearbook will see RJ again share a world bigger than just the music. As he did with previous album Lifeline, the physical record of Yearbook boasts groundbreaking augmented reality technology. The artwork and bonus content change with the time of day, year and weather via the accompanying free IOS and Android app, with over 300 living and breathing front covers to discover over time as an album sleeve that changes with its possessor. Order Yearbook on record here.