A Review of Ben Platt's Debut Album “Sing to Me Instead”
(Check out my write-up on Ben Platt’s move from Broadway to Pop Star before getting started if you haven’t already!)
Broadway star Ben Platt has made his debut into the world of pop music. Yesterday, his new album “Sing to Me Instead” was released, and each of the twelve tracks is a beautiful, and candid snapshot into an aching love story filled with heart, and passion. Simple yet heart-wrenching melodies intertwine with poetic, heartfelt lyrics to weave together a story of heartbreak, hopeful love, and a fervent relationship.
The opening track, “Bad Habit,” begins with subdued piano music paired with Platt's well controlled vibrato. This eventually crescendos into the sounds of a full band, and enough harmony to fill an entire choir. The lyrics suggest a rocky relationship that's difficult to give up.
Although at any given time I could probably convince myself that any of the twelve tracks from “Sing to Me Instead” is my favorite off of the album, at the time of writing this I have decided that “Ease My Mind” is my current favorite. Both the vocals and the music are simple, but they fit together perfectly to create a song that's as beautiful as the lyrics that accompany it. /You came out of nowhere and you cut through the noise, I make sense of the madness when I listen to your voice/
“Temporary Love” is a song of commitment with a tricky title. Listening to this track feels a lot like listening to gospel music in church. Except with less Jesus, and a lot more gay.
By the time tomorrow comes around, I'll probably have convinced myself that “Grow as We Go” is my favorite track off the album. It was one of the four songs released before the album dropped yesterday, and I've already cried listening to it multiple times. It's soft, sincere, and intensely loving.
I'm not one hundred percent sure, because I am not Ben Platt nor did I write this song, but I'm pretty sure “Honest Man” is a superlative track about falling for a same-gender partner who is not yet out. A love song many can relate to, with powerful vocals and a softly pulsating melody.
Of all the songs on “Sing to me Instead,” I find “Hurt Me Once” to be the most heartbreaking. The music which teeters on the edge of depressing jazz ballad unites with lyrics such as /Don't humor me with kindness, There's nothing kind about a hundred small betrayals/ to create an ambiance of hurt and desperation that's difficult to shake off.
In “New,” Platt goes full jazz track to highlight one of only two upbeat songs on the album. Bouncy piano, playful vocal runs, and more chorale-esque harmonies come together in an attitude filled “I'm better off without you” send off.
“Better” feels like a summation of all the negative feelings in the tracks before it. A soft and sad song that feels a lot like giving up.
I really hope “Share Your Address” ends up being a single because I want this album to do well and I can see this goofy love song being a great jumping off point for new fans. Both upbeat and silly, it perfectly describes what it feels like to be in a new relationship.
On an album filled with tracks about romantic relationships, I wasn't expecting “In Case You Don't Live Forever,” and it really got me in the feels. I'd love to write something more than this, but every time I try to listen to it my emotions get the best of me and I can't come up with anything coherent to say about it.
If I had to choose one song on “Sing to Me Instead” to skip, it would probably be “Older,” but only because I don't like to think about my own mortality. Like “In Case You Don't Live Forever,” it's the only other song on the album that isn't about a romantic relationship. Instead, it functions as encouragement to get out and live your best life, and warns against wishing you were older. The music in this one strikes me as being exceptionally simple, but in a way that's used to masterfully highlight the refinement in the vocals.
The final track on the album, “Run Away,” is the third and last in my rotation of Platt's songs that I will be referring to as my favorite. A magnificent blend of piano and strings back dazzling vocals and incredibly touching lyrics. /I may not be wise, And I won't save the day, But look in my eyes, And know I'll always stay, I won't run away/ if you weren't already completely enamored by Ben Platt and “Sing to Me Instead” by the end of the album, you will be after listening to this song.
While writing this article, I had to look up synonyms for the word “beautiful” at least five times. I could think of no better words to describe the masterpiece that is “Sing to Me Instead.” When I first read that Platt was releasing a pop album, I was hesitantly excited. I haven't typically enjoyed previous pop albums released by Broadway stars, but Platt is an exception. If you haven't already purchased or streamed this album, do your ears a favor and do so as soon as possible. You won't regret it.