Creating an atmosphere in a pop record can mean a lot of things, from incorporating elaborate instrumental setups to something a bit more simplified, such as focusing on vocal depth as opposed to lyrical charisma.
Everyone approaches the task at hand with a different skill set and a different way of going about making people listen to the music, but in the case of Renee Ruth, I think most pop fans will agree that this singer/songwriter wants to do it all - and sound effortless when she does. Ruth comes into her new self-titled EP guns blazing, with an emotional punch behind her lyrics that is anything but contrived and a lack of hesitation that makes me wonder how she’s been able to fly under the radar for as long as she has.
All in all, the four songs included in this extended play might not feel like a magnum opus, but when comparing the push of this music to what we heard from her some thirteen years ago in her last critically acclaimed piece, I think there’s no arguing against how much she has grown.
From an instrumental point of view, this is very much a piano-centric piece, but I would stop short of saying that Ruth is leaning on the classical balladry of her pop forerunners and abandoning the carefree edge that introduced her sound to us so many years ago. In fact, with a song like “Lose My Breath” featured next to the likes of Radiohead’s “Creep,” we’re getting a more full-bodied look into the range of emotions this singer/songwriter can conjure depending on what message she wants to send. Although there’s a general apathy when a lot of players throw in a hook-powered piece like “We Are One,” you don’t have to be a music critic to sense the level of investment Ruth has when she’s singing the lyrics.
She’s putting what some would take as filler at the front of this record and emphasizing her heart around every beat, which is sadly a lot more than what some of her major label counterparts have been submitting in the past couple of years.
2023 is only two months deep, but it’s starting to feel like the year of indie pop songstresses. Artists like Renee Ruth are grabbing this genre by the horns and doing things a lot of their biggest influences just didn’t have the artistic gumption to try out. In this EP, we’re getting a front-row seat to the climax of what has been a very inspired career in the studio, and yet I’m hesitant to say that this feels like the ultimate peak for Ruth as a singer/songwriter.
She’s got a lot she still wants to get off of her chest, including in a song like “Creep,” which she didn’t even pen but makes her own in every way here, and I for one cannot wait to see what the future is going to yield for her camp. If it’s anything like what we’re getting in this record, pop fans will want to stay tuned.
We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.