Chicago-based, alternative-rock artist Joe Piotrowski recently released his third album, Cautionary!
The 10-track album is a mix of openly shared negative thoughts/emotions that have been a struggle to fight for too long, and feelings of hope and love.
“Alone” begins with a soft, sweet instrumental intro. Pleading to not be left alone, while trying to break free and desperately hoping that the pain won’t last forever.
Piotrowski’s impeccable songwriting shines throughout Cautionary, but especially in “Morning’s Gone”, a captivating track that is tough to explain, but impactful. You’ll find similar traits in “Bottled Smiles”, and “Highheels in an Art Museum”, which incorporates intriguing lyrics, with a very interesting concept about calling out the people who think they’re “so cool.”
“Store-Bought” immediately has a different vibe from the first two songs. It’s more upbeat and very catchy. “My soul is feeling store-bought now” is such a clever line that’s attempting to express that there’s something wrong; an internal battle that is hard to fight.
“My Fault” alludes to guilt for what was said, how the situation came to be, and hoping for a restart. There’s a strong sense of disappointment, but trying to remember the positives in a rough moment.
“Cautionary is definitely the accumulation of my 10,000 hours. Although this isn't my first project, I really feel like this is the record I have been trying to make since I started making music and the one that is really me finding myself and my sound."
“I Don’t Wanna Hurt Anymore” is incredibly heartfelt, honest and raw. Putting these thoughts out into the world takes such strength and bravery. The idea that someone could listen to this song and finally feel understood is amazing.
Although “If I’m Lucky (Then I’ll See You Again)” is another relationship-focused track, it's very different in that it stands out with its feel-good instrumentals, accompanied by a young, carefree love story. Charming vocals and a hauntingly beautiful sound is what can be enjoyed with “Two Moons”. This song fits the saying, “wear your heart on your sleeve”. A wonderfully unexpected second half, with intensity that builds. One of my favorites on Cautionary.
Cautionary comes to an end with being an overwhelmed, self-described “trainwreck”. “Burnout” is about being stuck at the bottom and struggling to find the energy to lift yourself back up.
The diversity throughout this album draws the listener in, and the relatability connects them to each word Joe Piotrowski sings. It’s unquestionably worth exploring.
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Alex Kilgore, Untold Music Promotion