On Long Story Short, Eastside Long Beach native HeyDeon presents us with a hidden alternative jewel in LA’s underground sound. This eight track project is a solid composition for this developing artist, while the title keeps well with his nonchalant composure. Glance at his Twitter bio, and you’ll find the words “I make what I think is cool” — and to make a long story short, his latest offering is pretty fucking cool.
The first track “Sir” starts off with an engaging beat, with atmospheric, light synths establishing a trend for the album. As the album unfolds, many of the songs are short with lyrics revolving around a woman, as HeyDeon sings in a soft voice that occasionally drops into rapping. The instrumentals are synth and guitar based with an ever present snare beat, and he finds a good balance between the three while alternating the sound when necessary.
HeyDeon accomplishes impressive musical diversity from track to track. From “Sir” to “UrName” to “LifeNme,” we hear a good musical arch that evolves the sound. After the soft synths of “Sir,” “Urname” moves to a guitar riff that dominates the track, with a hectic snare under it that leans into being offbeat but lands just in time. HeyDeon sings the entire song, contrasting the creative, determined rapping from the previous song. Then, “LifeNme” combines these two sounds, with a solid bassline working underneath a combination of guitars and keys. His singing is more broken up as he sings up and down the scale, adding variation over the static snares.
A similar arc continues throughout most of the album, with lyrical and sonic themes alternating back and forth. The guitar riffs are particularly notable, as a jazzy riff on “Worry” seamlessly balances between light note progressions, and sharp chords. The song flows like water, while Deon and How Dreadful sing about holding down their partner in a relationship and providing what they need.
“No More” also has great riffs, that start off much more prominent to kickstart the song with a bang. It continues to evolve before exploding into its own solo, as HeyDeon’s passionate singing turns to rapping to give the song a beautiful progression.
Lyrically, HeyDeon flips back and forth between songs about heartbreak and others that are more optimistic. “LifeNme,” “Worry,” and “Phones Off,” are some of the more positive songs, while “No more” and “Let Me Know” end the album in a much sadder place as he sings about lost love. It gives off a more ominous feeling compared to the first half, as the jazzy guitar riffs do a better job of lighting up his lyrics when the lyrics are warm enough to match.
Thus, the ending of this project leaves a little to be desired. The production on “Let Me Know” is somewhat odd with it’s buzzing synths, as Deon sings about losing control and never getting his one shot. It’s followed by “Justus” — named after the man who produced it — which closes the tape with an electronic instrumental, rather than letting HeyDeon bring the project home with his authentic vocals.
Overall, however, Long Story Short is an exceptional project. HeyDeon is relatively new to the scene, but he’s already found his place with the alternative/lofi/R&B sound he’s created for himself. It’s a homemade sound, with well executed guitar themes and a fully capable voice round off the package. His clear knowledge of musical theme and progression is on full display, making for plenty of potential wherever he chooses to go next.