Very clearly from the beginning of his titular track “Things to Come”, Jeremy Parsons makes it clear that nostalgia is a powerful thing. The Nashville resident has made a name for himself, reclaiming the sounds and storytelling of more classic country as seen by the likes of legends like Hank Williams and George Jones (the latter of whom Parsons has opened for) and its easy to see why he’s a rising talent. His lyricism has always remained endearing and delightful as seen on his previous effort Things I Need to Say, but now he’s switching gears to wade through murkier waters.
With the knowledge that nostalgia is a powerful thing, Parsons decides not to look at the vices and experiences that have come with his ascending acclaim, but to hold the mirror up to himself and use himself as an example for us to the listener to look inwards as well. With tracks like “Masquerade” and “I Am”, Parsons isn’t afraid to acknowledge that he has changed, and sometimes wonders if it’s for the better. He tries to take solace from these thoughts with the laid back “Sit & Spin”, but even that track takes on a different connotation as it follows the track “Issues”, which opens up with the sounds of a bong rip before Parsons literally asks “Are you happy with you?” It’s hard hitting stuff and makes the enjoyment of weed and beer in “Sit & Spin” come across less as a luxury, and more as a coping tool.
As serious as I’m making the album sound, there’s multiple moments of levity as seen in the track Lillian. It’s a sweet little song about falling in love with the kind of girl who confounds you with her contrarian traits, until Parsons once again switches perspectives to say “but am I no different?” Parsons obviously wants solace and comfort in these uncertain times, and the album is wise enough to never veer into too socially relevant material (don’t expect talk of politics or even the recent pandemic), and I would argue the album is stronger for not doing so. Parsons is aware that we are like a sunset, we’re just passing through and we’re not infinite and it makes for a cathartic listen to hear him both acknowledge it and connect with us that yes, it is confusing, no he doesn’t know what will come next, and yes we should enjoy it while it lasts. Despite even having songs like “Good Ole Days” about the inevitable death we’ll experience as told from his perspective watching a loved one pass, it’s less a permanent damning goodbye, but more Parsons going “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Parsons has insane range as a lyricist and his production on all ten tracks is efficient and clean with a fantastic sense of progression. Parsons closes with “Something Other Than You Are” where he confronts feelings of inadequacy and if he’d be better doing things differently for him or someone else, and it’s a hard ending to swallow, but its choices like these that make me home Parsons will never change his amazing approach to his music.