I had been studying in the library, poring over aggregate demand graphs and consumption functions when I saw a post about Ryan Hemsworth’s new album, Alone For The First Time. On a whim, I downloaded it and absentmindedly put it on while I returned to my graphs. It wasn’t until I reached Snow in Newark that I realized I was listening to a smart, melancholy record that deserved to be regarded as far more than background noise to economics notes.
Hemsworth is known for his ethereal rap production and loyal remixes of popular artists such as Grimes, Frank Ocean and Cat Power. On Alone For The First Time, we find all his musical idiosyncrasies and nuances amplified into hyperbole; this record is very Ryan Hemsworth, aka Ry Sremmund aka MR. STEAL YO WIFI aka PRODUCER GAME OMAR BORKAN AL GALAAKA. His personal sound and ironic-internet-sad-boy aesthetic converge to produce a toned and refined style; cold and well paced ambience, robust and tight beats, subdued vocals.
On Alone For The First Time, Hemsworth is joined by many of his fellow Soundcloud stars. Throughout the record they contribute a wide spectrum of vocals ranging from intimate mumbling, to layered whines, to the now-typical loud-and-powerful-female-beat-drop-vocals, to rap. While they present a difficultly eclectic mix of voices, Hemsworth finds a place for all of them. Or, perhaps, he found the right vocalist for each of these different songs, another testament to a real strength in this album: finding so many different ways to convey the same mood and theme.
This record draws many a parallel to emo: bright, twinkly melodies in dark key, melodrama, and an earnestness behind the simple and moody lyrics. Emo’s not meant to depress you, it’s meant to feel real. This record does a great job of capturing that sentiment. Hemsworth dropped this with impeccable timing; this record is best enjoyed cold, with a side of seasonal affective disorder in a heavy coat.
OFFICAL TRACKLIST POWER RANKINGS:
1. SNOW IN NEWARK
2. TOO LONG HERE
4. WALK ME HOME
6. HURT ME