“Miss You” was the song that first introduced me to Oliver Tree, and while I’m a relatively new fan, it doesn’t affect my admiration for his third studio album, Alone In A Crowd. If you want creative songwriting that’s got a touch of psychotic air, and yet still manages to engage your emotions, just press play on Tree’s Alone In a Crowd. I swear you won’t regret listening to it.
Tree promised that the electronic pop album would “explore themes of loneliness, disconnect, and the human experience,” with a view on how social media and our obsession with fame are shaping modern relationships.
The album’s opening track “Bounce” might as well be about any average relationship since there’s an unstable energy to it, like something that will end with little to no warning. “Who you gonna call when things go wrong? / When things get bad, it’s always my fault / But when you need a friend, who you gonna call?” he sings in the suggestive song, which served as the lead single from the album. Tree debuted the single on June 10 with a full performance of the track at the 2023 Governors Ball.
“One and Only” is more of the kind of love we crave and it stands miles apart from the raunchy single, “Bounce,” which is basically about the physical satisfaction obtained from romance. It comes complete with cavity-destroying sweet lines like, “I’ll love you ’til I don’t exist here anymore / You’re what I’m lookin’ for,” and “’Cause everything’s alright when I hold you through the night.”
“Essence” is perhaps an even deeper confession of love than “One and Only,” and that’s a worthy feat. Have you ever loved someone so much you feel like they’re your essence, like if they were gone, you’d disappear? That’s the exact feeling Tree captured in “Essence.” It’s about the kind of love you won’t shut up about, and the kind you never want to leave behind.
In “Ugly Side,” we leave behind the sweet sides of romance to explore the darker sides – the sides no one ever wants to witness or talk about. “It’s your ugly side that you’re showin’ / Keep your mouth shut and keep goin’ / You’re not someone worth knowin’ / Please go, I hope you’re jokin’,” he sings, seemingly shooing away an ex-lover. In a rare 2-hour plus interview on Steve-O’s “Wild Ride,” Tree talked about the meaning behind the hard-hitting track.
“Stranger” is perhaps the song that touches on the album’s title “Alone in a Crowd” the most, as he explores what it means to feel lonely despite having many friends. “I’ve never felt so alone in a crowd / All by myself, so many people around,” he sings in the song’s bridge, later adding that “No one hears a sound every time I scream for help.”
Coming up as the last track on the 14-track record is his massively successful single, “Miss You,” which debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s “Hot Dance/Electronic Songs” chart and the UK’s Official Singles Chart. The song first came into existence as Tree’s song “Jerk,” which appeared on his debut album Ugly is Beautiful. German-based artist Southstar sampled his vocals in a remix of the song and, according to one of Tree’s managers, sold it to Schulz. However, Southstar would later deny selling the production when the song gained steam on TikTok.
Tree has a unique way of writing songs that makes it seem as if he’s just reading his thoughts aloud, and like thoughts, they do tend to run around uncoordinated. Instead of making his songs seem unprofessional, it actually made them more natural and relatable. The disadvantage was that it took away vulnerability from the songs because they mostly don’t go that deep into the situations they’re about.