Songwriter Showcase: Reed Dickinson - Ruby
By Brad Podray
I have no idea what I'm listening to.
Is this rock? Is this attempting to be complex and synthetic or is
it's aim something else? I find myself listening, trapped between
a fine line of admiration and loathing for this album. By the end
of track 1, "Ice On a River," I have no idea what to expect from the rest
of the album. It was part keyboard-rock and part contemporary pop.
The music, despite being quite light in nature, was heavily layered.
Lyrical structures are mostly predictable, yet the song demonstrates a
wonderfully peculiar breakdown.
Track 2, "Ruby Red Eyes," definitively
sounds like something my parents listened to, cruising the highway on the
way to the local ice-skating rink or hang-gliding arena or whatever kids
in those days did. I don't think there's any such thing as a hang-gliding
arena. Anyhow, there is no correlation between tracks 1 and 2. Both
songs have entirely different styles and what I thought were different
singers before looking at the credits.
Again, I ask "What the hell is this?"
On to the next track.
By the time I'm writing this sentence,
I've listened to tracks 3-9 all the way through and I'm a little bit more
familiar with what it is that Reed Dickinson is trying to do.
This album is pure modern light rock.
If you're tired of the gnashing guitars and angsty lyrics that highlight
so much music, you might actually like this album. Even when Dickinson
sings of the "Devil Doll," an evil blonde woman, it sounds like he might
as well be telling everyone "dancing is fun!" repeatedly. It's uplifting
and simple. The music is made with a pop sensibility and variation
that some albums lack. As a novelty, this album is fun because of
this variation. Reed goes from a kind of techno-rock to light reggae
to light jazz to anything. None are perfected but each is addressed
well enough to be recognizable. Most songs on this album are too
light and "vintage-sounding" to be considered by fans of any band that
came out after 2000...and by "most" i mean "all."
Simple songwriting, blatant appeal to the
pop audience, and strange variation between tracks highlight this album.
Not for everyone. Due to the lightness of this album and it's odd
appeal, I recommend you listen to it yourself and don't let me be your
entire basis for judging it.
Sure to please: Light contemporary rock
fans. Anybody who thinks modern rock is all about Satan. "Happy"
Sure to disappoint: Me. Metal fans.
Rap fans. Lots of other people who like angst in their music.
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