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ALBUM REVIEW: “Dreaming of David” By Ryan Beatty

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Fri Feb 23 2024

BY: RAZAN HAMADEH

Born September 25, 1995, Ryan Beatty is an indie singer and songwriter born and raised in America. Getting his start at none other than Radio Disney, he was on his way to becoming a mainstream teen heartthrob singer. This was until he realized he wanted to do something more fulfilling with his musical career, and more importantly that he wanted to stop lying to himself and others about who he really was. Ryan began to shift his musical career to a more indie and R&B sound, with his vocals audible on “QUEER” and “BLEACH” from BROCKHAMPTON's critically acclaimed SATURATION II album. Simultaneously, Beatty was struggling with his sexual identity and how the public would handle him coming out as gay, but he took a chance. With some of his best songs being about the confusion and struggle of maneuvering through love, his transparency to fans ultimately strengthened the meaning of his music. 

Dreaming of David was released during a time when Ryan Beatty had begun to experiment more with his voice and the beats behind it. After all, living up to the artistry of his previous album, Boy in Jeans released in 2018 would require a new and remarkable sound. The best description phrase that comes to mind to describe Dreaming of David is “a fuzzy dream.” The songs throughout are littered with tranquil chimes, choric synths, and chilling layers of harmonies to truly evoke the feeling of a hazy memory. I recommend listening to this album all the way through, in a dark and moody atmosphere for the full experience (bonus points for blue LED lights).

The most popular song on this album is the sixth track, titled “Evergreen”. Evergreen tells a story of a relationship that has ended, but is still alive just like an Evergreen tree, unchanging over the seasons. What is interesting about this track is that it features Beatty's voice pitched both up and down along with his normal pitch. He experiments with the harmonies and layers he is able to create with these voice effects, placing them atop a strong, grounding beat reminiscent of a heartbeat. At the end, this cardiac beat is replaced with a UK garage drum keeping the tempo, allowing for a fast-paced, jumbled beat to take shape for the end of this tune. It is not hard to see why this song was able to garner 14.5 million streams on Spotify with its original yet indie sound.

My favorite on this album is the eighth track which is titled “Backseat”. Backseat is about the companionship and love one can have for others, a supportive and symbiotic relationship of sorts. When one is in the backseat, the other drives. Once the driver is tired, they switch over to the backseat, so that there is always someone steering but nobody is overexerted. My favorite part of this song is the fuzzy, twinkling intro with water running in the background, which crescendos into a string of guitar chords. In my opinion, this simple intro captures the essence of how Beatty wanted the dreamy sound of this album to be executed. What I like most in this song are the harmonic vocals and the wholesome meaning of codependent relationships where both participants pull their weight. 

The second track, “Dark Circles”, was the prerelease track for this album, building support and hype around the full album's release. This song paints a picture of someone left restless and with bags under their eyes after staying up night after night, thinking about what could have been with someone they chose to leave. The repetition of lyrics “never wanna be someone else's lover” repeating as the song fades out at the end helps immensely to tell this story. With a melodic base of synth-y arpeggios, techno sounding chimes, and calm vocals, Dark Circles cultivates an atmosphere of regret and tranquility. This track is similar to Evergreen in that it also evolves over the course of the song from a slow drum beat to a faster UK garage reminiscent beat. 

Overall, Ryan Beatty is a really great artist that deserves his success, especially with the heart he puts into both writing and singing his authentic songs. Due to a hiatus he took from 2020 to 2023, his fanbase seems to have dwindled slightly, even with the release of his newest album Calico. Nonetheless, Dreaming of David is a testament to Ryan Beatty's musical capabilities, and I believe that anyone can find at least one song they like on this album.I recommend indulging in Beatty's music if you enjoy listening to artists such as Brent Faiyaz, Frank Ocean, and Hozier.

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ALBUM REVIEW MUSIC RAZAN HAMADEH RYAN BEATTY

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