Listen Up: Sing to Me Instead

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Listen Up: Sing to Me Instead

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Social Media Editor

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Fresh off of the Broadway stage, Ben Platt has released his debut pop album, Sing to Me Instead. There’s sure to be a song for everyone considering Platt varies his sound between upbeat, fast paced tempos and slower, melancholy messages. I certainly have my favorite songs, but overall the album is incredibly cohesive with each song complementing the other. I had my hesitations when the first singles dropped, yet Platt ultimately exceeded every expectation and produced an album I would absolutely recommend. 

Platt released four singles before the full album’s debut on March 29. I will admit, my first listen was not overwhelmingly favorable. “Ease My Mind” and “Bad Habit,” the first two songs Platt released, are both over four minutes long with slower melodies. Thus, my interest wavered, especially considering the contrast from the upbeat “Waving Through a Window” and “Sincerely, Me” from the Pasek and Paul musical Dear Evan Hansen which propelled Platt’s  career.

However, once I watched the music videos for both songs my opinions began to change. Viewing “Ease My Mind” particularly sealed this positive shift in my opinion of Platt’s songs. It acts as a visual aid for the lyrics, replaying a relationship that ultimately ended. Nevertheless, Platt recounts that despite them no longer being together, only this individual “can ease my mind / Help me leave these lonely thoughts behind,” alluding to anxiety attacks as portrayed in the music video. “Bad Habit” interacts with “Ease My Mind” as this same individual is a “bad habit” that Platt continues to rely on. These two songs begin Platt’s album. While they definitely grew on me, other songs unquestionably take the top spot of my favorites on the album. 

My favorite songs are “Share Your Address” and “New,” the two most upbeat and distinctly pop songs on Sing to Me Instead. “Share Your Address” was the first song I listened to when the full album was released. This was completely by chance yet it could not have been a better coincidence.  

Thirty seconds into “Share Your Address” I was immediately in love with the song. I paused and reflected in disbelief considering this song equally showcased Platt’s impeccable vocals as “Ease My Mind” and “Bad Habit” did, yet it was a drastically different vibe than those two singles. 

With a strong, cheery piano and clapping backing track, I find my head bopping with every beat. Platt maintains a narrative in this song with the upbeat vibe enhancing the excitement of being in a new relationship. The fast paced and repetitive, “I know, I know it’s too soon, too fast / But this could last / I wanna share your address,” is my favorite line as it focalized Platt’s vocal range and ability beyond the power ballads he is famously known for. 

“New” contrasts “Share Your Address” in meaning but mirrors it in sound. Unlike “Share Your Address” which celebrates a budding relationship, “New” rejoices after a relationship has ended. Platt conveys the feeling of thriving following a breakup. His voice exemplifies this meaning. He beautifully holds notes, showcases his vocal range, and sings tempos impossible for the average singer. He’s showing off to his ex, stating that he is doing better without him in his life. Once again, a poppy piano plays in the background, creating a fun, lighthearted sound to elevate this song. 

Platt also touches upon his sexuality in his debut album. He opens up about relationships he has had with other men, explicitly referencing one in “Honest Man,” a heart wrenching and highly emotive ballad. 

In Dear Evan Hansen, Platt was praised for his ability to hit high notes and sing beautifully all while sobbing, spitting and swallowing mucus on stage. Platt taps into these heavy emotions and incredible vocal abilities in reference to his sexuality in “Honest Man.”  Beginning every chorus, Platt stunningly hits a high note followed by a vibrato when stating the title’s name. The pre-chorus leads up to this overwhelming display of honesty by repeating, “If you come out then so will I,” explaining the barriers that come with this relationship as Platt admits, “I’m not what you planned / But I’m a safe place to land /I am an honest man.” 

After listening to Sing to Me Instead in full, I really enjoy Platt’s debut album. I appreciate Platt stepping outside his musical theatre roots sound-wise yet maintaining the importance of narrative and telling a story as that genre emphasizes. 

Platt produces a great balance of upbeat songs to sing along to with friends alongside quieter songs that inspire introspection and reflection. No matter the tempo, Platt does an excellent job of showcasing his outstanding vocals, a trait no one can deny about this singer whether his new pop sound is their style or not.