Grotesque is the exact word that’s able to capture the quiddity of CEO‘s Eric Burgland’s sophomore album, wonderland. The obscure, yet stunning cover album, showing Berglund in kaleidoscopic color palettes doesn’t veneer the fact wonderland is indeed grotesque, distorted, yet harmonious and amazing, proving that Burgland doesn’t produce his sophomore album half-assedly. It’s opened by such a strong first track–that’s also used as the first single–“Whorehouse”–a perfect pop-dance song that sounds salacious, but actually describes the sense of Burgland’s entrapment and confusion that he feels like “lost in the whorehouse”. The track is so damn good, that every time you ask other people about CEO, the first response that pops up in their head is either “Who is CEO?” or “Oh, that dude who sings ‘Whorehouse’? Yeah, he’s good”. But, Burgland doesn’t become CEO of Sincerely Yours because of nothing. He still has so much to offer. Hidden after “Whorehouse”, the second track of the album, “Harakiri”. is actually the true gem of wonderland.
At first, “Harakiri” sounds dreamy and tranquilizing. The soothing violin that begins the song may lull you, along with the soft synthed cadence and Burgland’s brittle voice, “Your glitter rains on my face.” “Harakiri” is so picturesque that you probably don’t realize you’ve been deceived by the song. When Burgland continues, “Forming patterns of horror” and you realize that harakiri isn’t something you’d consider as something picturesque–unless you are those kind of guys who enjoys profuse gory stuffs–you will have a moment of clarity. No one knows what’s actually hidden beneath the glittery lyrics, mesmerizing rhythm and composition. It may be Burgland’s ode for seppuku, or it’s probably a representation of his shame and sacrifice. That’s the mystery that’s better left unsolved because that’s the beauty and grotesqueness of wonderland.