Album Review: Purple Noon by Washed Out

Image for post
Image for post

Ernest Greene Jr., or better known by his stage name, Washed Out, is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Georgia. While many people don’t know about him, he is probably most well known for his track Feel It All Around which is the theme song for the television show Portlandia. Besides that, people have categorized his music in the chillwave category, even though he notes hip hop as an influence. Purple Noon marks Washed Out’s fourth studio album.

The first track from the album is Too Late. It starts out with some high pitched, layered and reverbed vocals effects. After the quick fifteen-second introduction, the track opens up with more of a backbeat and booming bass hits. With his production and style, I am definitely getting an 80s dance feel to it. On this track, he talks about an encounter with another person at a party. He’s wondering if anything serious will come out of it or if it will just be a quick fling.

Face Up opens up with light percussive beats and glossy synths. We still get the layered and reverbed vocal effects, but it is much slower in tempo than the last track. However, you can definitely hear more emotion and pain in his voice on the track. On this track, he is wonder if this relationship is ever going to work out with this person. He’s asking himself if he really wants to be in the relationship and suggests that she just walks away from him.

Time to Walk Away brings the tempo back up. You are greeted with high pitched vocals as well as synths that continue to ride the offbeat. The verses seem to be a bit lackluster with Ernest just singing, but the chorus of the track really brings this track justice with the climactic high notes and the energetic instrumental. Just like the last track, he is talking about walking away from the relationship since he is tired of getting hurt.

Paralyzed is the shortest track from the album, as well as one of my favorites. The track starts out quiet with long drawn out notes, but eventually opens with a wide array of instrumentation that has been introduced in earlier tracks. The soothing vocal harmonies have so much to add to the aesthetic of the track. This also brings us back to more of a love track since he talks about being addicted to this person’s love. We just don’t know if this person is right for him. The synth outro at the end is a nice addition too.

Reckless Desires is definitely a complete 180 compared to his previous track. The track starts out slow with minimal instrumentation. It definitely grows later but starts out quiet and slow. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling this track when it came out, but I feel like it’s a grower since I’m starting to gravitate towards it now. This is another dance-like track with the offbeats. As dance-like as it may feel like, it’s the exact opposite since the track is about this person cheating on him. However, he was oblivious to it at the time.

Game of Chance starts off as an acoustic track but adds plenty of reverb to make it seem more mystifying. As I’ve said before, I appreciate how he can convey emotion through his vocals since he seems to be hurting on this track. I also really appreciate the small guitar solo in the middle to add more personality. While he has been making sad tracks throughout the entire album, I was definitely not expecting to hear a depressing acoustic track, but it’s a great addition.

Leave You Behind starts with a few noteless drum beats, but once the music comes in, it seems a little more uplifting and optimistic. The chorus is full of playful synths and percussive instruments. He’s trying to be optimistic about finding a spark again with this person, but he is lost without her. He is unable to move on and that is holding him back. Despite the optimistic track, it’s anything but hopeful for him.

Don’t Go marks the longest track from the album, just a little under five and a half minutes in length. It seems like the track starts with some wavy string instruments. It doesn’t build up much from there, but the strings eventually cut out once the vocals come in. The strings are eventually replaced with a bell-like sound later on. There was a hint of hope during the second verse of the track, but then it is taken back as the track goes on, and he keeps thinking about this person. Other than that, it’s an orchestral masterpiece, especially with the moment of pure bliss towards the end with the wall of sound.

Hide definitely takes us back to the classic 80s type of dance music. It reminds me of some of Washed Out’s earlier work so I really appreciate this track is on the album. As I said before, it’s strange how some of the more energetic tracks tend to be a little darker. According to the artist, this is one of the darker tracks on the album. This is the part of the album where he said these two people are thinking if they should keep it together or just call it off for the relationship.

The last track from the album is Haunt, which does start off on a bit eerie note, especially with the bass notes from the synth. You also have the continuous synth groove that keeps up through the track. According to the artist, this is definitely the climax part of the album where all of the memories are clouding his mind. He knows that he won’t ever be able to hide from these memories or escape from them. There are just so many things going on at this point during the album that it can be overwhelming at times.

Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Too Late, Time to Walk Away, Paralyzed, Reckless Desires, Don’t Go

Originally published at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store