If you’re looking for adrenaline-filled pop-punk, beach-ready love songs, and more mellow moments of introspection, look no further! Tyler Posey has officially released his debut album, UNRAVEL, and this is seriously one project you can’t miss. We love it when you can really understand who an artist is from their first full-length, which UNRAVEL flawlessly pulls off.
Being an independent artist, there is a lot of freedom, and that’s exactly what this album is. Freedom. It’s got every genre from screamo hardcore punk to chill beach vibes. Listen to it from start to finish in order, to really experience the ride that is UNRAVEL, my first full length LP!Tyler Posey
The sonic freedom in UNRAVEL is part of what makes it so special, and the thematic freedom can also be seen as one of the main messages of the album. Opening track “Get Out Alive” begins with a static-y speech promising a “new and revolutionary” experience, which is truly one of the best ways to describe the project. “I’m trying to evaporate, leave it all behind without a trace,” Tyler insists between cathartic screams that capture his frustrations about the lives we live in the modern era.
On the punchy fan-favorite single “Lemon,” Tyler again longs for a sense of escapism, saying, “I don’t know what to make of this, so I’ll run into the hills to get away.” It feels like the perfect soundtrack for a coming-of-age movie, fusing indie and pop-punk in a thrilling way that emulates the back-and-forth of the lyrics describing both problems and possible solutions. It’s also interesting to note the difference between wanting to run into the hills versus the promise of a “new and revolutionary” situation on “Get Out Alive,” which mirrors the chaos of such feelings.
’Lemon’ was a fun and unique song to write for a few reasons. First, it’s the ending credits song to my new movie Teen Wolf: The Movie, so it’s the first song of mine I’ll get to hear on the big screen. How sick is that? I’ve never written a song knowing it was going to be in a film. I really tried to capture the energy it would take to leave an audience feeling epic at the end of a movie. I think we accomplished that, with the help of phem, of course, who helped me write it. She came up with the coolest line “sucking on a lemon,” which the title came from.Tyler Posey
With the energetic “Understand,” Tyler seeks freedom from a toxic relationship as he chooses his peace. “I tried but I’m sick of being the nice guy,” he confesses, “you chew up and spit me out.” Meanwhile, on the next track, “I Fall Alone,” Tyler learns that freedom isn’t always as easy as just stepping away from a relationship – it requires inner work and perseverance even as your unhealthy habits and feelings tempt you. “I left my shit at your house so I can see you again,” he admits before continuing, “I lie to myself and say that this time, it’ll be different.” The titular lyric, “I fall alone,” also has a double meaning of both falling in a love that’s unrequited and falling, as in a sinking feeling.
Tyler returns to the idea of escaping a toxic situation on “Hands & Knees,” with a twist that sees him “finding [his] way home” after leaving an unfaithful partner. He views their infidelity as a blessing of sorts that “saved [him] from sleeping with the enemy” and brought him to a better path where he can save his attention and energy for something worth his time.
“World Class Loser” feels like a turning point on the album, with Tyler looking back on his life and how things have changed over the years, while also looking at how he’s played a role in that by not being as fluid as he could’ve been. “I can’t keep doing the same things and expect for me to change,” he says, “‘cause I got a glimpse of me through your eyes and I don’t wanna be like that.” He honors the memories he’s made while also deciding he doesn’t want to carry those shadows and vices into his future, choosing himself and his well-being over short-lived fun and escapism.
The song also delivers what’s arguably the lyrical thesis statement of the album: “Am I really alone? Am I really alive?” In theory, “alone” and “alive” should be near-opposite, but in the world of UNRAVEL, the true magic is where the two feelings collide. Those feelings of loneliness work as a catalyst for Tyler to push towards a better future with less weight from the past as he focuses on building the kind of life that would actually make him feel alive.
Pre-release single “Gravity” sees Tyler not only stepping away from things that don’t benefit him, but “blasting off to space” as he lets go of past hurt and finds new love. “I try to make peace with the demons in me,” he announces, moving forward towards a healthier mindset. To make it even sweeter, he co-wrote the song with his partner, fellow artist phem, and we love that they can run away together romantically and musically whenever they need.
‘Gravity’ is special… Like they all are, goddammit, but this was the first song phem and I wrote together. It was supposed to be on my last EP but it didn’t fit the theme of it. So, this one has been a favorite of mine for years now. I’m happy to finally show it to the world!Tyler Posey
On “Shit Parade,” Tyler longs for the freedom of the times felt more simple, pleading, “I just wanna play again, I wanna be different, fuck around, and I wanna be a dumb kid.” Notably, he began starring in his standout role as Scott McCall in MTV’s Teen Wolf at 20 years old, an age when most people are grappling with the truth of becoming an adult after being raised to believe growing up would ultimately lead to more agency. On top of the usual existential matters, Tyler was also likely grappling with adjusting to fame and his busy schedule – he explained to Talk To Me in 2017:
I’m still the same kid I was when I was younger, still really wide-eyed and goofy and silly and spontaneous, but I’ve kind of learned, over the years, there’s a seriousness to life. I’ve gone through a lot of shit that’s kind of rounded me out. I had to experience — along with the rest of the cast [of Teen Wolf] — some weird shit that comes from being famous. A lot of us aren’t big fans of it. So we’ve really had to deal with learning how to be famous while not liking it.Tyler Posey
With a bit of a different perspective on how the illusion of freedom (via running away) and safety can make you leave behind something special, “Runnin’” encourages a potential partner to analyze their fears and get to the root of their insecurities when it comes to a relationship. “You say you gave up on love,” he muses. “What you runnin’ from when you don’t know where it goes?” The sunnier, more beachy production reflects the empowering emotional freedom that Tyler has found by digging deeper into his feelings as he invites his lover to do the same.
‘Runnin” is dope. [Co-producer Matt Malpass and I] recorded it in Hawaii. The waves you hear in the intro are the actual waves we recorded from our Airbnb, whose backyard was the Pacific Ocean. It was the first song we wrote that was a real deviation from pop-punk for this album. I’m proud to say we did that deviation justice. I hope you enjoy and feel the sand on your feet and the mist from the breaking waves on your face.Tyler Posey
And while freedom and letting go can be appealing, there are some feelings and moments we should never really release. One of the indisputable standout moments on the album is the somber, yet dreamy, “Sing,” a seeming tribute to Tyler’s late mom who passed away in 2014. It’s a message that while she may not be here in the physical realm, she’s still very much a part of his life – “I may be grown but I’m still your son, sing with me, I still like to play our song.” Adding another song to their collection, “Sing” is simply priceless, truly capturing the depth of the emotion Tyler can capture in his voice and his lyrics while offering a cathartic track for fans who know the pain of losing such an important person in their life.
UNRAVEL concludes with its thoughtful title track, which wraps up the escapist themes by showing the listener that running away doesn’t always solve your problems. It’s a thoughtful look back on the project’s storylines and a fresh spin on the pop-punk energy the album delivers. “If I could just unravel my brain and give you a sample, then maybe you could walk away with dignity,” Tyler ponders, and you could argue that the full album is him unraveling his brain to help others feel less alone.
However, we feel that the true ending of the freedom motif comes in the form of earlier track “Don’t Mind Me,” the final song he made for the album. “Don’t Mind Me” gives Tyler the space to give himself more freedom when it comes to his emotions, touching on the panic and depression he’s felt while rising up in triumph as he refuses to let it defeat him. “I’m doing the best that I can over and over getting up when I fall back,” he beams, serving as a poignant reminder that we can all be a little easier on ourselves and deserve the space to grow from our mistakes and missteps.
‘Don’t Mind Me’ was the last song we wrote for this album. I wrote the guitar and music what feels like almost a year before the lyrics. I sat with it for a while. The production that Matt Malpass put behind the guitar that I wrote reminded me of a very specific time of music in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, so I went with that vibe for the melody. I love the wordy chorus, too.Tyler Posey
With a stellar amount of sonic and artistic freedom, Tyler Posey has not only created an incredible 16-track album, but also a commentary on why we seek freedom, how to achieve it, and when not to let it blind you. It shows exactly who he is as both an artist and a person, encouraging the listener to take charge of their own life no matter what their current circumstances might look like.
You can find UNRAVEL on your favorite streaming services now, and get to know Tyler Posey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Be sure to tell us your favorite tracks from the album on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
By Madison Murray
Featured Image: Courtesy of Big Picture Media