Friday, October 20, 2017

Music Review: Ryan Power "They Sell Doomsday" (NNA Tapes)

As a writer, I've found that one obstacle which is difficult to overcome at times is deciding why you like a particular piece of music.   What I feel happens- and I'm not saying this about any particular writer though you probably know some who fit the mold- is that as writers we get so used to our ways we don't even think about whether or not we like anything-- we just like it.    It's as if we live in a bubble, and so it is easy to say "Well, this is a cassette and I like cassettes, so I like this".    I'm sure there are some publications out there who suffer from this (Again, not naming names), but they're too comfortable in their own little music worlds and since a specific press person usually sends them good music they have been conditioned (aka grown lazy) and therefore say anything sent by said publicist is the next big thing. 

This, my friends, is the answer to the question as to why people who don't have talent become famous and more importantly why people who are seemingly so talented are not nearly as well known as those who are less talented.   As an example, if you think the best rappers in the world are on the radio I could argue that you know nothing about hip hop.    Still, it makes me sad because someone like Ryan Power might be looked over simply for not being "on the cool list" (Which, yes, such a thing exists) and thus goes unnoticed by those who could perhaps benefit from his music most (Which, in a word, is everyone)

I always like to ask myself why I like a particular piece of music.   So much music gets submitted to me: why did I download this one?  Why did I choose to write about it?  The answer has to be something more than "Well, the label totally got me backstage passes for their show and my girlfriend loves them".    For this Ryan Power album I must admit that I was sold on the title.   I thought (somewhat foolishly I will admit now) that this was going to be some kind of post-apocalyptic sci-fi end of the world type of feel.  I wanted destruction.   I wanted terror.   I wanted brutality.   I wanted chaos and carnage.   And of those things, I found none.

That's what made me click the link.   That's what made me press play.   But even though I didn't find what I was expecting, I found something that I've not quite heard before.   Ryan Power has this style that sounds familiar but in reality you can't place it to any specific artist or even sound.    I imagine some jazz singer in some dimly lit club fell in love with someone like Frank Sinatra, had a kid and that's kind of what this is like.    There is a pop element to it in the sense that it's pleasant on the ears.  If you put it on in a room full of people the majority probably wouldn't object based upon the tone.

But he isn't afraid to drop an f-bomb here or there, as he sings the song of a crooner it might feel out of place though I keep reminding myself that this is 2017 and this is unlike anything I've ever heard before.    As a big fan of Stone Temple Pilots, I have to give a nod on this one to Scott Weiland, who had this same sort of style as a solo artist (or at least he likely could have), as I listen to this and think of the hidden track on their second album. 

Depending upon your upbringing you will relate this with different aspects of your life.   For me, I enjoy how much he can sing the title without a care in the world.   I imagine a boat- maybe "Love Boat", but it doesn't have to be- and on this boat there is a lounge with a singer.   A lot of movies and television shows go into these sort of cruise ship parties.   "Bob's Burgers" did it and Gene fell in love with a puppet.   ANYway, I imagine this boat is sinking.   They're know they're going down.   They're all going to die and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it.    These are the songs being sung in that musical lounge.

"They Sell Doomsday" is available on CD, vinyl and digitally here:

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