Since seeing Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on tour in January, I have not seen a musical. So what did I have to write about that was new? I enjoy writing album reviews for The Board, so our editor brought up the idea of how Ben Platt’s music changes when he is not performing within the theatre or film realm. I took this idea and ran with it while listening to Sing To Me Instead.
For those unfamiliar, Ben Platt is an actor who made a splash as Benji in Pitch Perfect and its sequel movie. In the theatre world, he has played the role of Elder Cunningham in The Book Of Mormon, both on the National Tour and as his Broadway debut in 2014. His other well known role Evan Hansen, in the smash hit Dear Evan Hansen. In 2017, Ben Platt won the Tony Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Actor in A Musical and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance for the role.
Story in the Album
In his original music, every song tells a story that seems to come from a personal place that makes the performance feel authentic. Constructing a story that connects with the listener can be tough and Ben Platt does this expertly with each tune, ranging from dramatic ballads to lighter up-tempo songs. For example, the song Grow As We Go is about an intimate relationship, and the partnership leads to growth and change for both people. On the album, we experience every sort of connection in the human experience such as friendships, family bonds, and intimate relationships. In the aforementioned song, the chorus is “I don't think you have to leave/If to change is what you need/You can change right next to me/When you're high I'll take the lows/You can ebb and I can flow/And we'll take it slow/And grow as we go, ooh., Grow as we go, ooh.”
Emotion in the Performance
Ben Platt sings about his affinity with the people in his songs on the album; we hear raw emotion and genuineness in every song, making the listener feel the words of each song. Not only is the emotional impact of his music achieved by the lyrics and the tone, his vocal style and the way he approaches each melody brings a new experience. The up-tempo number Temporary Love has the following chorus: “This is not a temporary love,
This is not a temporary love/Now your heart is in my hands/I won't give it up/
This is not a temporary love.” Platt’s feelings come through in a lighter vocal timbre as opposed to the piece Ease My Mind where the vibrato is intense.
Writing his own Music
With this album, the listener is getting a look into the world of Ben Platt thorough his own words. Each song presents his writing, musical creativity and performance at its best. The acoustics and moods evoked remind the listener of artists of the past, such as Carole King or James Taylor, but the writing is fresh. The charm of Ben Platt’s music is that he writes about things that listeners will experience in life in a conversational style. He takes us on a journey of the highs and lows of human relationships in an intimate manner; it is as if you are sitting in the room with him.
The album features piano and other instruments without overpowering electronic amplification. Platt’s album hits on all the right notes!
Check out if Ben Platt is coming to a city near you next month!. He is currently filming Ryan Murphy’s Netflix show The Politician where he plays a character named Payton Hobart. The show is expected to release on September 27, 2019.
What is your favorite song on the album? Let us know in the comments or on social media.
Photo by Monica Simoes.