Marking a slight departure from the rock-forward sound of his debut, Nick Phoenix returns with an inventive LP that isn’t afraid of risks.

People will try to tell you what you are or who you need to become. Fuck that. You are unique, and it is your originality that sets you apart from everyone else. If the universe wanted more of something and we already have too much of, it would’ve made you that way, but you aren’t. You are the only one of your kind, and like Nick Phoenix, that is your greatest attribute.

With Wide World, his highly-anticipated Sophomore record, Nick Phoenix strays further from the world of cinema that first gave him a career. Where 2021’s King of One fixated on the bridge between classic and modern rock, Phoenix allows his latest more room to explore the boundless possibilities of sound. Whether it’s the wide-eyed curiosity of the title track or the undeniable hopefulness of “Andromeda,” Wide World never stops evolving and revealing new layers of itself. Like a warm blanket, the record invites listeners to become enveloped in its journey, and Phoenix makes it easy to say yes.

“Which Side You’re On,” one of the standout tracks from the record, perfectly balances the light and dark elements of Phoenix’s sound. At a time when the world is more divided than ever, Phoenix is writing songs that speak to a time when humanity recognizes the error in its ways. He’s not pretending to know the solution or alluding to a belief that everything will work out in the end. Instead, he sees this moment for what it is—a learning experience. Regardless of who you are and where you stand, we are all going to come out of this stronger than ever. 

Pheonix’s unwavering faith in mankind’s ability to not only realize their wrongs but correct them is one that many listeners may envy. It’s easy to look around and see the world on fire. It is even easier to smell smoke and run the other way without looking at all. With Wide World, Phoenix argues that we do not need to be afraid and we certainly don’t need to hide. We are both the cause and solution to our problems, but we won’t get anywhere without a little empathy, for ourselves and each other. I’ll stop short of saying Phoenix alone can give listeners that gift, but Wide World points people in the right direction with songs that stir the soul.