“Sing to Me Instead,” Ben Platt’s debut solo album, is a breath of fresh air in a formulaic pop music industry, and I find the album takes listeners on an authentic emotional journey.
Platt is best known for portraying the title role in the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” a show that won the Tony Award for Best Musical, with Platt himself winning the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Platt may also be recognized for his singing role as Benji in the movies “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2.”
A first listen through Platt’s new album, which was released on March 29, left me speechless. Subsequent listens have allowed me to really take in the emotion and depth contained within the 12 songs on the album.
The majority of the songs are stripped back, mostly featuring various combinations of Platt’s vocals, acoustic guitar, piano and drums.
What’s remarkable is that Platt doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of the heavy-handed electronic meddling that is so overdone in modern pop music. The album is like a breath of fresh air, free from obnoxiously droning bass beats and synthetic cacophony.
Platt’s talent is so raw and emotional, and it shines at its best when it’s front and center. His voice has such a unique quality; his signature vibrato is immediately distinguishable in an industry where so many male pop vocalists start to blend together.
Riffs and runs in songs such as “New” and “Temporary Love” showcase Platt’s impressive vocal ability, conveyed with such effortless sincerity.
The overarching theme of the album is love in its many stages and forms. While it’s hardly a new concept, Platt’s ballads resound with an authenticity impossible to dismiss and melodies that will haunt you long after you hit pause.
While heart wrenchers like “Bad Habit” and “Hurt Me Once” may leave you emotionally traumatized for a time, bops such as “Share Your Address” and “New” are there to pick you up when you’re in the mood for something lighter and uplifting.
The only criticism one could possibly have for the album would be that many of the songs share similar instrumentation and overall pacing. In Platt’s defense, he has found a style that works for him, and he does it well. Though a couple of songs may blend together, they all have a personal message and are executed flawlessly, in my view.
“Sing to Me Instead” proves Platt is not a temporary star, and his transition from screen to stage to pop is beautiful to behold.
Rebecca Vrbas is the assistant culture editor for the Collegian and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.