I honestly have no idea who Ryan Beatty is and it is just through the wonderful world of the internet that I happened to stumble across his music.
It would seem that Beatty is a former child start who made his name on Youtube singing covers of other artists songs such as Bruno Mars. Now 23 years old Beatty has released his debut album “Boy In Jeans” which is a collection of Pop/R&B songs which he has released a low key music video on youtube for just about every one of the songs on here.
Knowing little about an artist and just allowing the music to do the work has been refreshing for me and whilst I am sure the entire aesthetic of this album may not be everyone’s cup of tea I am not ashamed to say that I have been taken in by the atmosphere Beatty has created on this project.
The track that gave me the desire to investigate further is the opening song on the set. “Haircut” has a long intro and I recall not knowing what to expect from the vocal that was imminently about to come in and was pleased with the soulful R&B nature of his performances.
Beatty had recently come out as Gay and this song (and many on the album) delves into his sexuality and how being free in his feelings has allowed him to mature. The issues he had within himself have now been resolved and “Haircut” has him talking about moving on and living once again.
“Euro” is another song I like with the production being as though it is out of the late 90’s Neo Soul. On this track Beatty wants to get away and be a little bit reckless. He mentions that he is not suicidal but he feels he needs to do something that can at least make him feel. Perhaps the seriousness of the lyrics get lost in his echoy vocal but Beatty is baring his soul on this track.
“Cupid” has the vocal from Beatty sped up and it sounds as if the voice is coming from someone else. It is a nice little love ballad that musically doesn’t really have many elements but Beatty is clearly feeling strongly towards this person and will do anything asked of him. He acknowledges that it is a fucked up situation but the power of infatuation can be difficult to get past.
The 4th track “Bruise” is one of my favourites on the album. The simple beat has Beatty singing about an encounter with a boy when he was in school. He went to the dance with his girlfriend but the appeal of another boy was where his interest was directed to.
“Camo” is another song that I really enjoyed listening to. So many of these tracks I have played usually before I go to sleep due to the chilled out nature of the instrumentation and the vocal style Beatty offers up.
But again if you break down the lyrics you have him talking about depression in his younger years and the struggle to deal with child fame. His expression of feelings are honest and delivered with sincerity.
I enjoy the track “Party’s Over” although I am aware that we run into the issue of songs sounding quite similar with perhaps a lack of invention on the production. The instrumentation is quite limited and that is probably what stunts the album despite there being some decent ideas but just without the execution.
Beatty again gives examples of how his infatuation with a boy would dictate his social life. He wasn’t out as gay but would still veer towards other boys and go where they were even if he didn’t know anyone else in the particular social setting.
“Money” is again a little boring on the production front even though Beatty is talking about an interesting aspect of friendship where one individual has money which is essentially the only thing he offers into the relationship as a friend. But it’s just a little familar in terms of melody that we have already heard and towards the end of the song the mesh of vocal and instrumentation sounds a little messy.
“God In Jeans” is far more ambitious with it’s production with the track opening up with some strings. I am not sure of his religious beliefs but his comparison to someone he has slept with to God suggests that he is at odds with the concept of religion. I like this track though and is one of the richer sounding songs on the project.
“Crash” is actually two songs in one. The song changes up to an entirely different track half way through. I prefer the 2nd half as there is something warmer in the melody and the instrumentation which again has Beatty infatuating with someone.
“Powerslide” is probably along with “Haircut” my favourite song on the album. It’s a little more funky again reminiscent of 90’s R&B. I also think Beatty delivers his best vocal performance on the entire set with more use of his falsetto and his backing vocals are also on points. A really enjoyable listen this one. A chilled out summer vibe flowing through it.
“Speed” is another track that seems to flip up into another song. There is no end of sexual references in this track, some disguised in innuendo and some just direct and up front.
Musically again it is difficult to distinguish between this and other tracks we have heard up until this point and that is the biggest problem with the album.
The 2nd half of “Speed” is very 80s synth heavy and sounds good but melodically the lyrics just melt away.
On track 12 “Pink Floyd” Beatty tries to come to terms with his sexuality and the change that this will mean to his every day life. The vocal is spacey and it is almost as if we are listening to the thoughts inside his mind. This is atmospheric and taken on it’s own merit I think this is a really beautiful track.
There is more of a pop/rock feel on the penultimate track “Flash” but again taken in isolation I think it a really strong song which I really enjoyed. Beatty displays how fragile his feeling really are and I think this entire album has been him expressing all the things that have been on his mind for the last few years.
There is much echoy reverb on his vocal but in this case it really adds to the feeling surrounding the song.
The final track off “Boy In Jeans” is “Rhinestone”. This is such a superb song and a great way to end the album. The 70’s soul production and the swagger Beatty pulls off on this song allows the album to end on a high note as it would seem to me that now that Beatty has got many of his past issues out there he can move forward into a more confident zone.
Being a last song on any album can often see a song get a bit lost but I do recommend checking this one out as it is as cool as fuck.
There is something very low key about this album and the music career of Ryan Beatty. Maybe this is because the only thing I know about the artist is what I am hearing on this album and it is almost as if someone has sat down and told me a load of things about them that I am able to get a sense of what this person is like.
What I grasp from his lyrics is a young man striving for more. Someone who has dealt with a lot of doubt and has struggled to find out who he really is although I get the sense that he always knew who he was and what he wanted to be but actually putting this into practice was a very difficult thing to do.
The album falls down on it’s production because there just isn’t enough varity. When you listen to it all in one sitting it is a bit like listening to one very long song. There are some real winning tracks on here though and if you are a fan of 90’s/00’s R&B then I think this will tick a few boxes.
What this album does do is make me utterly intrigued to see what Ryan Beatty does next.