Though freshly embarked on his solo career, Alexander DeLeon is no rookie. Working under the alias BOHNES, DeLeon turns to traveling and absorbing people’s stories for inspiration, leading to the highly anticipated release of his debut album, 206: Part I.
On the surface, 206: Part I is a mix of catchy lyrics and grungy guitar chords with a dash of pop. But listen closer and you’ll hear the hidden message in each song. In a recent Huffintgon Post interview, DeLeon explained the theme of the album as “life and death,” and how certain tracks speak on “how death drives you to live,” “death and the resurrection of love,” and the looming “fear of not being remembered when you go.” Heavy stuff, but inspiring nonetheless. Fully exposed and vulnerable, 206: Part I might as well have been ripped from the pages of DeLeon’s most intimate journal.
Pulling from musical inspirations such as Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons, opening track “12 Rounds” is glossed with an echoing background chorus and energetic lyrics. Giving the audience a look into BOHNES’ essence, lines like, “My heart is strong/My veins are paved with hope/And when I stand up your bones will all be broke,” illustrate the authenticity and drive DeLeon stands for. Digging deeper into pop and electronic elements, “Zombie Love” is the cousin of Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy”.
206: Part I transitions with “My Friends,” as BOHNES shakes hands with his demons. DeLeon explained to Earmilk the method behind dealing with said “demons”: “Most people attempt to ostracize their demons which leaves them room to come back with a vengeance. This song is about shaking hands with them, getting to know them, and giving them a tip of the hat. They will always be faster than you, so it’s better to have them on your team than to try to run from them or outlast them. They don’t sleep.” This song is not all dark and gloomy though — watch the video and you will discover that there is a happy end for everyone, even for those with demons.
Illustrating the darker side of fame, “Moshpit” voices the un-fulfillment of clubs with “empty faces,” and needing space from it all. The repetitive guitar chords reinforce the idea of a repetitive lifestyle, helping the listener understand where BOHNES is coming from.
Closing with softer track “Better Than Me”, the audience is introduced to the death of a love. Exposing raw pain, guilt, and regret, it’s clear the “boy not worthy of a queen” is not ready to accept the loss of this love — and neither are we. The minor chords and introspective lyrics will have anyone rooting for this love to survive.
Ending on a cliffhanger, fans like myself are ready for a 206: Part II. Will the same vulnerable and authentic BOHNES appear in Part II? Will BOHNES be able to resurrect this buried love? Time will only tell.