Album Review: Wild & Free – A Rocket To The Moon

A Rocket to the Moon (commonly abbreviated as ARTTM) was an American rock band formed during 2006 in Braintree, Massachusetts, by Nick Santino, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Guitarist and backup vocalist Justin Richards, bassist and backup vocalist Eric Halvorsen, and drummer Andrew Cook eventually joined the band, forming the final member lineup. The band has released two albums through Fueled by Ramen. Their debut, On Your Side, was released on October 13, 2009.  Wild & Free is the second and final studio album by A Rocket to the Moon. The album was released on March 26, 2013.

The band, A Rocket To The Moon
A Rocket To The Moon.

When asked by Mike Ragogna in an interview if Nick Santino thought the songs on the album were, in fact, wild and free, he said “I think so. I mean, it’s not wild and free like Lynyrd Skynyrd are wild and free, but I think it’s emotionally wild and free. I think we all really let go on this one and that’s why that title kind of stuck. There are subjects that we’ve never written about before that we put on this album, and I think it’s really cool. We’ve written about life, love, death, regret, reassurance–kind of everything. It was really freeing to write, so I think that’s a lot of what Wild & Free means to us.” The lyrics of First Kiss on the album Wild & Free are meaningful and based off of a real life event. “We wrote First Kiss about something that everybody goes through,” lead singer Nick Santino tells American Songwriter. “This song was inspired by Nicholas Sparks, I guess you could say. Our love for chick flicks is rather obvious (or pathetic) […] But anyway, This is a song about growing old and still being in love with the person you met when you were a kid. This is a good song with a positive message.” The song starts off with a guitar and leads into Santino’s calming vocals. There’s an easygoing mood but is cultured and melodious.  The song is melancholy, shown in the lyrics, “There’s an angel looking out for me/Because I ain’t well/Though I try to be/I’m dancing all alone/Cause I can hear you sing/I need my angel/Like heaven needs another set of wings.” Finally, Whole Lotta You is an upbeat song with a lively beat and a bright tune, with the lyrics, “Sha la la la/Sha la la la/Let’s go out/get lit/get loose tonight/yeah,” and the chorus, “Nobody wanna be alone/alone tonight/So come on baby take me home/home tonight.” When also asked about the song by Mike Ragogna, Ever Enough, Santino says, “There’s this band called Green River Ordinance, and their lead singer, Josh Jenkins, is a friend of ours. One day, Justin and I were in Nashville and we met Josh at his house and ended up playing around with some stuff on the acoustic. He was showing us this little idea he had and it ended up being “Ever Enough.” It’s a song that we wrote about reassurance–reassuring the person that you’re with that you’re going to love that person until the day you die, through everything. It’s kind of just telling that person that no matter what happens, I’m going to be by your side. I think it has kind of a cool meaning to crack into because a lot of people can relate to it.”

Wild & Free album cover
Wild & Free album cover

Each of the songs are technically strong as well as emotionally powerful. Every track feels as carefully crafted as a ship in a bottle, and the result is a mesmerizing collection of spirited and contagious songs, most of which are tenacious enough to stand alone. Some of the songs are upbeat and fun, while others are mellow and solemn. It is a great album and a great band. It’s a shame A Rocket To The Moon broke up, but their music lives on.

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