I think you’ll agree that L (c’est moi) has lots of different blogging sides: there’s funny L, serious L, technology-reviewing L, book-reading L, and many more. Well, hello — I’m music-reviewing L, and L (like L in chief, if you like) has let me out on this special occasion to talk about one of my/his/our favourite new albums.
Gosh, this L situation is verging on paradoxical.
“Anyways, what is this mysterious album of which you speak?” I hear you ask. (I’ve given up trying to figure out which L “I” is — to think that there are still another 24 letters of the alphabet that could start getting involved…)
Well, allow me to fill you in. (No, no … you’re not a pothole — I won’t fill you with soil, don’t panic.)
Ruth B — Safe Haven
If you’re not familiar with Ruth B, you should be. She’s a Canadian (and hence automatically perfect) who found fame posting clips on Vine.
… Sorry, 2016 called: it wants its viral short-video sharing service back …
You may have heard of this singer-songwriter, through her song Lost Boy. If that didn’t make you fall in love, fairy tale style, with her, then this album is sure to do just that.
Safe Haven is by far the most relatable album of today, dropping the familiarity of perfect pop-stars, with their mixture of my-perfect-life love songs and he-dumped-me-why tracks. Instead, she introduces us to a whole new side of pop — a side which, in all honesty, is so normal, it initially struck me as peculiar.
What does that say about the music industry?
It makes a change to hit ‘play’ on an album, listen to the opening chords of the first track and, before the two minute mark, already feel a connection with the artist and their lyrics. And it’s relatable: I understand exactly what Ruth B is singing about; I’m not imagining some drama-heavy world of drugs, sex and violence, where anyone and everyone seems to have dated (and dumped) Taylor Swift.
The whole record revolves around modern relationships: they’re tricky, complicated and very different to how they were even just twenty years ago (or so I’m told).
The first track, Mixed Signals, is about receiving, um, mixed signals from someone, and how that can really mess you around, and play with your emotions. I think this is more common than we acknowledge in society today, because of many millennials’ refusal to commit to anything or anyone.
The second track, Dandelions, is one of my personal favourites. Ruth sings of how she is “wishing on every one that you’ll be mine”; if you can’t relate to that, who are you? And what’s your secret?
Unrighteous is about a relationship that Ruth knows has to end: the whole relationship is “built on lies”. I love this song particularly because it’s so stripped back, with just Ruth’s vocals and the piano: I think it reflects the emotion of the song really nicely, and really puts focus on Ruth’s amazing voice.
Superficial Love appeared on Ruth B’s initial EP, The Intro (which of course I own). However, this version was released this year, and is effectively the same song with the addition of a drum beat — it gives the song a whole different vibe. Although I personally prefer the initial version which appeared on the EP, I still like this version, and I love the message behind the song. It’s all about how love has to be real — like, really real.
Track five is called If This Is Love, and was the first song released by Ruth after the announcement of the album. Honestly, it took me a little while to decide how to feel about this song, but in the context of the rest of the album, I can totally see where it’s coming from. Following the recurring theme of relationships, this song is on the theme of loving someone, but feeling broken at the same time. The lyrics and the instrumental track to the song accurately reflects the inner conflict of which Ruth sings.
How could this be Ruth B’s album if Lost Boy, her breakthrough single, didn’t make an appearance? This song just makes me so happy, and yet so emotional, but reminds me always of one thing: things don’t HAVE to be perfect.
Another of my favourites on this album is Young. It kind of deviates from the topic of relationships; it’s a refreshing break. As the name suggests, the song is about being young, and living life, so that when Ruth is old, she can look back and smile. Honestly, this song just gives me this kind of chill vibe: it’s kind of a mix of that perfect Saturday in town with your very best friend, but also that perfect sunset with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
If By Chance has made me cry so much already: I’m listening to this now, in order to write this post, and I’m welling up inside. Again, though: this song is so relatable. Ruth sings about an old boyfriend, and wonders what he’s thinking now, whilst desperately missing him, and wanting him back.
World War 3 is about a very taxing old relationship, which in itself has turned into a bit of a war zone. For some reason, I just love that she mentions “blue jeans”; it just grounds the whole thing.
Safe Haven, the title track, is so cute I can’t even express myself. It focuses on how couples share problems, and find strength in one another when “the world is caving”. It’s unbelievably sweet, and what we all want in a significant other I think.
In My Dreams was released in November last year, and tells the story of a mystery man who Ruth finally falls in love with, when she sees him in her dreams. Whenever I listen to this song, I start grinning like an idiot, because it’s just so sweet and beautiful, but so real, and normal.
Finally, track twelve: First Time. In my opinion, this track is the perfect way to conclude the album: it is all about how, in reality, you don’t need someone else in order for you to be happy. There’s no need to be scared of being single, and how it’s OK if “you found somebody else”. It’s like Ruth finally finds the resolution to the situations she sings about throughout the album, and finds closure.
What really makes me love Ruth B is how good she is not just as an artist and as a songwriter, but as a storyteller. Every track on the album tells its own story, and I love that, as listeners, we’re sucked into Ruth’s world so fully, so convincingly — it’s incredible.
If you haven’t checked Ruth B out, or haven’t had a chance to listen to the album yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s available to stream on Spotify, and available to purchase online at Amazon.com and on iTunes.
Also, let me know in the comments below what you thought of this post; I’ve never tried music reviewing before, and so I’m not sure how this will be received…