Change of Scenery II brings Quinn XCII back to his roots



Photo credit: Quinn XCII

By Grace Rossman, Staff Reporter

On April 28, 2015, native Grosse Pointer Quinn XCII released his first EP, “Change of Scenery” produced by longtime friend AyOkay, who is also from Grosse Pointe. On March 5, 2021, the pair released “Change of Scenery II,” an album that embodies and lives up to the magic of the original.

“Change of Scenery” is a lively and upbeat Extended Play that I absolutely adore, instantly filling the listener with serotonin due to its feel-good mood. Since it was also produced by AyOkay, “Change of Scenery II” emits the same feelings as its prequel and is not a disappointment to fans of the EP. Quinn’s unique voice and genuine lyrics mix with the bright and satisfying production, creating exciting songs that set them apart from modern pop. 

The record is introduced with “We Made This Album in Newport,” a short, yet captivating opening, sampling “Native Tongue,” a song from the original album. This song focuses on production and music, rather than lyrics. Since Quinn and ayokay are going back to their roots with this album, the lyric, “We don’t change” from “Native Tongue” fits perfectly in the introduction. 

One thing that makes this whole album unique is the sound effects used throughout the tracks. In the beginning of this song you can hear a car door open, footsteps and a door close. Throughout the song, you can hear the voice of AyOkay while making the album, saying things like “We should play something pretty on this.” 

The ambient introduction to “We Made This Album in Newport,” builds into “Distracted Youth,” another track with incredible production. This song, as well as many others on the album, are feel-good and lively. 

Next, “Mexico City” is one of the most fun songs on the album. It is all about having fun on vacation, true to the mood of “Change of Scenery II.” “My Wife and Two Dogs,” is another similar song, timed quick and energetic. Quinn sings “Change of scenery II’s coming out really cool,” which is an enthusiastic homage to the album, as this song was a single. And the chorus, “Move out to the beach with my wife and my two,” is followed by a dog bark. In “Monday Morning,” a bright and happy take on a love song, you can hear a school bell ring as Quinn sings “It’s Monday morning/And I think you might not be mine.” 

What this album does an exceptional job at is jumping from songs with vibrant beats and fun lyrics to songs that are personable and emotional. This whole album was created on a street named Doris Terrace in Newport, Rhode Island. This caused “Doris Terrace,” a beautiful and wistful track, to be created. This song features Jeremey Zucker and also is the only song on the album that includes AyOkay singing. The opening line is “Some nights I felt like ending it/If I’m twenty-eight, why do I feel like this?” Contrasting the tone of previous songs, this song touches the listener. In the outro to this song you can hear Quinn faintly saying, “Like, even though that is true/I still know everything that we made here is amazing and special/You know what I mean?” a hopeful outlook to end this emotional song. The song completes with a door closing, the same one as in “We Made This Album in Newport.”

“Feel Something” is another personal song about struggling with inner feelings, but the somber lyrics are covered by spirited and entertaining production. The chorus focuses on struggling with constantly feeling down, “But if I survive, I would jump off this skyscraper/To feel somethin’” This song also incorporates a unique instrumental bridge. “We don’t talk Enough” features the touching lyric, “Me and my friends are losing touch/And all we share in common is that we don’t talk enough.”

A few days before the album was released, Quinn tweeted saying that two of the songs on the album would sample songs from the original “Change of Scenery.” As I was listening through the album for the first time, I was anxiously waiting to hear if one of the songs would sample “Another Day In Paradise,” one of my favorite songs. It is an amazing song, with an impressive  beat, and instantly fills me with happiness every time I hear it.  

The astonishing closing to “Change of Scenery II” is titled “Look How Far We’ve Come.” This song’s track and production, as well as the lyrics are vivacious and effervescent. It manifests the same mood from “Another Day in Paradise.” In verse one, Quinn sings “Watch the stars in Cambridge/’Cause you’re way too smart for Boston College,” a clever way to define the subject of this song as incredibly smart. The chorus goes “When you and I were young/This is all we ever wanted/Look how far we’ve come,” a sweet and nostalgic line. Similar to the intro, “We Made This Album in Newport,” you can quietly hear the voices of Quinn and Ayokay in the interlude. They say, “I wonder what the song, once we both retire, What’s gonna be the song you can remember us by?” Right after this sentimental conversation, the song transitions into the incredible  and distinctive beat from “Another Day In Paradise.” This is a very heartfelt use of sampling this song. This song was made almost six years ago, by Quinn and AyOkay, right at the beginning of their career. 

They have both come so far since that song, so sampling it in this track is the perfect addition to the song. At the end, right after Quinn sings “look how far we’ve come” in the outro, you can hear the same door close in the intro track, and “Doris Terrace,” closing the album flawlessly.