I envision what the 1970’s singer/songwriter era was like. You know groups and artists like The Carpenters, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell dominated AM Radio as teenage couples went to lover’s lane to have their secret romantic makeout spot with the windows steamed up at the local drive in. Then, I hit the fast forward button on the VCR and fast forward to the pop sensibilities that groups and artists such as Gin Blossoms, Natalie Imbruglia, and Lisa Loeb offered, you know when it was a hit in the 1970’s and 1990’s because the songs were legitimately wonderful to singalong to and the arrangements required some actual talent in the musicianship. Long story short, I am trying to describe to you the sounds of Kelley Ryan, as she has released her album entitled “Telescope”.
Fans in the underground pop/rock scene might have heard the name Kelley Ryan as she is a self-described “studio rat”, who has spent time with her creation in her band astroPuppees. In the past, Kelley Ryan has worked with world-renowned studio musicians such as Marshall Crenshaw, Rachel Haden of That Dog, Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms, and Bill DeMain of Swan Dive in order to expand on the lush arrangements that Kelley Ryan offers in her music. Kelley Ryan has achieved various television placement opportunities in TV shows such as “Felicity”, “Roswell”, “The Class”, and MTV’s “Road Rules”. She has also had movie placement appearances in movies such as “Trojan War”, “All Of It”, and “Man Hunt”. She has also provided her musical talents on tribute albums dedicated to Elvis Costello and Del Shannon. That is quite the resume for Kelley Ryan considering she has contently flown under that mainstream music radar.
Based upon the listening of “Telescope”, you can tell that each musical construction, loop, and arrangement was carefully thought out by Kelley Ryan. “Telescope” starts off with an innocent yet arousing track entitled “The Darkest Stars”. It has such a dark, haunting feel to it seemingly to tell the story of doing something that you’re going to regret, yet you go through with it anyways. I immediately notice the intricacies of this album. The arrangements won’t blow your mind, yet it’s very carefully crafted such as the little saxophone part that serves as a backdrop during the chorus and how the piano sneaks into the backdrop during the bridge of the song. The melodies are moody, as it gives off the impression of one coming down during an after-hours social gathering where everyone is finishing their last drink and embarking into deep relaxation, sleepy mode.
The lyrical content and the arrangements are mature and offer an ample amount of sophistication in “Cigarette”. The harmonies and arrangements are impeccable as it explores classic pop arrangements that one might hear on AM Radio in the 1970’s. “Save Me” offers sophistication in the lyrics, offering desperation in the lyrics about how people are afraid of getting hurt again after a bad relationship, even calling out to the divine for supreme protection.
Throughout this record, Kelley Ryan offers her insights in the lyrics and arrangements with various undertones of love, lust, becoming broken, and starting over through various points of spiritual imagery, personal undertones, and through the art of storytelling. Her arrangements are smooth and there are little intricacies that she adds to the music that really causes the listener to open up and expand their mind on what she has to say. This record is such a unique throwback to the glory days of the singer-songwriter era of yesteryear while showing that it can be relevant again. We need pop and singer-songwriter music in our lives. Kudos to artists like Kelley Ryan for telling the world that music still matters and that you don’t have to eat the garbage that the radio and Pandora feeds you on a daily basis. This is the diamond in the rough that you have been looking for. Overall, a 4/5 star album! Here is the track listing to “Telescope” below!
“Telescope” by Kelley Ryan
- “The Darkest Stars”
- “Save Me”
- “Flake White Heart”
- “Secret Life”
- “The Broken News”
- “Pulling For Romeo”
- “Passing Through”
- “Crack In The Sky”
- “Real Gone Girl”
Check out the lyric video to “Save Me” below!
Kelley Ryan wants you to friend her on Facebook. Just go to Facebook and type in Kelley Ryan. You can also like her and get the scoop on her at the following locations: