Connor O'Brien - Prizefighter (Album Review)

Connor O'Brien, also known as Connor Bogart on more recent releases, self-produced the album "Prizefighter." It is a strange piece of pop rock music that instantly draws comparisons with artists like Bon Jovi, fuses occasional pop punk riffs into the mix comparable to bands like New Found Glory, and on top of all this retains an overall sound that can be compared with contemporary bands like Avalon. It is a strange mix, and though the opening track "Make Ends Meet" is a little bit weak by my expectations, the album picks up quickly after and provides tracks like the acoustic heavy "So Far to Go" and the relaxed "Feeling Again." Connor has had a fairly successful career already as he has sold thousands of albums, toured as an opening act for artists like Mariah Carey, and charted a #1 single in France. So, how does this album hold up when compared with the eclectic range of pop music that inspires it?


The first things I tend to examine when it comes to any record I review is the overall production and composition of the tracks. These are some of the first things people hear when they listen to an album. In the case of "Prizefighter," the production is very solid across the board. With the knowledge that Connor O' Brien produced this on his own (which includes mixing, sound engineering, and mastering); it makes the production quality all the more intriguing to consider. It is very well done on the whole. As for the compositions, they are pretty solid as well. It is expected that they will follow a pop song structure, and on most tracks do not leave this structuring (for better and for worse). Overall, I cannot find anything to complain about in this regard.


With this being a rock album of sorts, the instrumentation primarily consists of standard fare rock instruments like guitars, bass, and drums. Occasionally Connor brings in some additional instrumentation like on the track "Nothing at All" where synth strings and an organ makes its way into the mix. Considering the length of this album (10 tracks at around ~45 minutes) I would have liked to hear a little bit more diversity when it comes to the timbres used. This issue is partially counteracted by the incorporation of a wide variety of guitar pedal effects, which makes the guitars at some points sound very different and interesting for this stye of music. My favorite track on this album, "Reconcile," developes into a 6.5 minute long track filled with easy to sing along with lyrics and entertaining instrumentation that evolve from a smooth guitar lead intro to an electric pulsing conclusion.

The biggest selling point of "Prizefighter" is, no doubt, the vocal stylings of Connor O' Brien. He is able to project his voice in such a way that it could no doubt carry a large crowd at a stadium event, while also maintaining composure on tracks like the closer "Inside Out," that force me to recall contemporary musicians like Michael W. Smith. It is an entertaining mix that he is able to tug on your heart strings while also providing some "heavy" segments filled with distorted guitars and riffs commonly found in punk music. Perhaps strangely, I find his voice to be comparable to pop icon Enrique Englasias.

Overall Impression:

Connor O'Brien's album "Prizefighter" is really enjoyable to listen to, especially if you like the chosen genre. There is enough going on from track to track that you will not get bored. Like I previously said, a bit more diversity on the instrument front would have been more appealing, but for what it is, it works well. The best segment of the population I could recommend this too would be those individuals who enjoy stadium contemporary rock. If you like regular pop and rock music, you will want to take a listen as well. Overall, it is not a particularly complex album, but it is entertaining and gets the job done on this front. Standout tracks include: "Feeling Again," "Falling to Pieces," "Reconcile," and "Bobby & Me."

Connor Bogart's "Prizefighter" Ulalume 2013-08-08 4.0