Thoughts on Quinn XCII’s “Change of Scenery II”


“Change of Scenery II’s” official album cover.

On March 5th Quinn XCII, a musician covering genres from pop to reggae released his 5th full album: “Change of Scenery II.” The album itself seems to be, as it says, the second take of his original EP “Change of Scenery” which he released in 2015. And just like the first, his new album’s executive producer is his friend and collaborator Ayokay

As a way to change his routine, he traveled to Ayokay’s vacation home in Rhode Island where they began to produce the new album. The album features collaborations with artists  Jeremy Zucker, Alexander 23 and Chelsea Cutler who are all signed to the independent Visionary Music Group. The album was teased in early 2020 while still in production, and in the time that has passed the 12 song album was released. The album did so well that for a time after its release it held the title of the number 1 pop album in the world. 

This is my personal take on the album’s content, everything from lyrics to feelings. Personally, I have followed Quinn’s music for the past couple of years and it is intriguing to see the way he grounds himself with an album created in an old vacation home with his college friend.

1 We Made this Album In Newport – / 10

Being the first track in the album it is hard to consider this a full song as much as it is a preview of what the album is. The track has small bits and pieces of the style that the entire album seems to cover, a calming and mellow sort of persuasion. I will not rate this song as I consider it to be a description of the album more than a song.

2 Distracted Youth 5.5 / 10

This track has a very colorful beat, it swells and mellows in a comfortable rhythm, and the peaks are really satisfying. However, at some points, the beat feels slightly too crowded and can take away from the lyrics. The lyrics themselves are simple and effective, “nobody is focused on the love. We just want attention for no reason,” and they simultaneously give me the feeling that the song is meant to feel like a realization that Quinn and his friends need to reconnect. Overall, it is a solid song but because of its role as the first track in the album, I feel it should be simplified somewhat.

3 My Wife & 2 Dogs 8 / 10

This song picks the album up in a really good way where the first song felt indecisive about how it should feel this one really pops. It has a really steady rise of energy throughout the entire song and every time the chorus comes around, it feels like the song gets a little louder and more energetic. Falling into place as one of my favorite songs on the album, it definitely picks up the quality of the whole piece.

4 SOS 7 / 10

This song really feels like a throwback to the way Quinn’s music felt back in his early career, (2015/2016) and it is easy to draw parallels to some of his initial hits, like “Stung” and “Full Circle.” This song has more of an emphasis on the instruments behind the song rather than adjustment of instruments and electronic notes that he often ties himself to. The chorus itself is catchy and upbeat despite a more instrumental base. The beat associated with it does a fantastic job at keeping it from being stale considering the chorus takes up about a third of the song.

5 Hey, Goodbye 5.5 / 10

Out of all the songs in the album personally, I feel like this song can be most related to the type of pop song you would find on the radio. The chorus is straightforward and is the type of music to get stuck in your head. I find that while this style of music definitely fits into the album well as a sort of “palate cleanse,” I feel like the song lacks enough depth to be something that I would want to revisit the album for. Despite my grievance against that style of music the lyrics and beat have a very road-trip type feeling, which is admittedly fun to listen to at unhealthily high volumes and sing along with.

6 Doris Terrace (ft. Jeremy Zucker) 7 / 10

The album takes a sudden turn to be more mellow here, a slower beat and lower energy really break up the pace of the album. The way the album slows down really fits well with the style of music that is more closely associated with Jeremy Zucker’s music, the chance to slow down the album is embraced completely and still they manage to keep that colorful and happy type of melody that has pervaded nearly every song in the album. My favorite portion of the song is the voice recording of Quinn at the end of the song saying, “I still know that everything we made here is amazing and special” when he is reflecting on the time they spent making songs in Rhode Island.

7 Stay Next to Me (ft. Chelsea Cutler) 6 / 10

This song has a really subtle rise that helps bridge the album from slowing down with the last song to rebuilding a pace that can keep the album fast or slow. On top of being a middle point for the whole album, the song itself feels almost specially made for live showings. If I close my eyes it would be entirely possible to convince myself that I am at a live show, which keeps me enjoying the song. There is also a subtle piano tune sprinkled throughout the song that keeps the softer lines from “Chelsea Cutler,” completely intertwined with the song.

8 Mexico City 4 / 10

This is probably my least favorite song in the album. The whole song feels kind of monotone and the only interesting beat comes from the guitar. However, even that begins to stale by the end of the song. The best part of the song for me, and the reason that I am okay with its placement in the album, is because it tells a good story through the lyrics. That story is the only attention retaining a piece of the song, and the story itself having a cheesy rom-com type of feeling is effective enough to keep the song from being a total flop.

9 Monday Morning 8 / 10

Out of all the songs in the album, this one has the most ties to the more electronic music that is associated with some of Quinn’s music. The whole song is really energized and makes you feel like you should be bobbing your head along with the beat, and the strong chorus really makes the whole song jump with heavy bass and catchy lyrics. This song does fall in line with a somewhat generic type of breakup story that he often uses to write about, but even with that stereotype it still is one of my favorite songs in the album.

10 We Don’t Talk Enough (ft. Alexander 23) 10 / 10

This song takes a sharp turn from the rest of the album, hitting a really somber type of melody that isn’t something you can usually find in Quinn’s music. The lyrics themselves are very heavy, feeling like someone looking back on life; it causes the song to feel like a conversation between Quinn and Alexander asking why friends end up drifting apart. The whole song feels very real to the fact that after a while people naturally drift away from each other despite the strength of the bonds between them. This 180-degree turn from the rest of the album easily makes this song my favorite in the album and one of my favorite songs throughout all his music.

11 Feel Something 6.5 / 10

This whole song has somewhat the feeling of a completely one-sided argument. The lyrics themselves seem to cover the topic of depression which is very serious, but the beat contradicts heavily the notion of depression. It is upbeat and loud which makes the entirety of the song sound like someone who is screaming at the world for letting their life unfold the way it has.

12 Look How Far We’ve Come 9 / 10

Having been a fan of Quinn’s music for about 5 years this song is probably the most memorable song on the album. It is quite literally a reflection of his career while also looking at how polarized the world is, from gun rights to reminiscing on college escapades with Ayokay. He ties the whole idea of this album being the second when he uses the beat from the final song of his first ep, Another Day in Paradise. His final message in the album is him asking, “What’s gonna be the song you can remember us by?” towards an undetermined audience, as a way for him to close the door on the massive project that they undertook in a mostly empty vacation home.

I found this album to be one of the most interesting experiences that I have had, musically, in the last couple of years. It was extremely enjoyable to review this album and I am most definitely going to find myself revisiting it again and again.