Canadian producer and electronic musician Ryan Hemsworth released the album, Alone For The First Time, this year. His music takes influence from various genres such as Trap EDM, Electro Pop, Hip-Hop and R&B. He’s known for his remixes of songs from artists like Frank Ocean to Cat Power. He’s also produced and collaborated with the R&B singer, Tinashe.
His latest album takes a step away from the club. It’s clearly meant to be played alone in your home, which the title suggests. Alone For The First Time is wrapped with soft and sentimental melodies. It features various guest singers that may be fairly unknown to most people. The lyrics bring a cold and lonely aspect that contrast with the production. Most of the songs express his longing to be with someone. It seems Hemsworth isn’t all that comfortable with being alone.
The first track, “Hurt Me,” opens with warm and welcoming strings. It then transitions into this lullaby sounding melody. The lovely melody is cut off by drums accompanied with a voice sample of “So don’t you hurt me.” This fits well with the production which sounds soft and fragile.
“Walk Me Home” expresses a situation of unrequited love which contrasts with the bubbly melody. New Zealand artist, Lontalius, sings on the hook “Leave me Alone / There’s no room for me left in your heart.” His voice is soft and gives off a strong feeling of disappointment. It’s a strange track that feels both hopeful due to the production and heartbreaking due to the lyrics.
“Snow in Newark” is the first single off the album. It has an uptempo beat with a driving melody from a xylophone-like instrument. Out of all the songs, It has the strongest and most complete lyrics. Guest singer, Dawn Golden, sings “And I don’t want to leave you here / I just want to be your shadow.” The song is a reflection of Hemsworth’s feelings towards always being on the road for work and never being able to be home. It’s a mellow, but heartbreaking track.
“Blemish” is a more experimental and jazz like instrumental track. It starts off with some simple guitar chords that then get replaced with synths. It has a variety of a drum patterns going on throughout it. It moves away from the happy, bubbly melodies that made up the production of the first 3 songs.
“Too Long Here” opens with a few keys on the piano which helps set a somber atmosphere. Singer, Alex G, accompanies this track. “Too long here I keep to myself / I keep to myself” He sings. Overall, the song gives off the feeling of loneliness.
“Surrounded” takes on a Drum and Bass beat pattern accompanied with the strong vocals of Kotomi. It has some woozy synths with samples repeating “Everything” and “I need you” at the beginning. The drum and bass beat give the track a feeling of urgency which suits the hook. “I want to be surrounded by you” she sings. The production helps you feel how she direly needs to be with this person.
The beginning of “By Myself” sets up a dreary atmosphere with dark piano chords, and the words, “Enjoying this company / By myself / Kisses for the mirror / I’m just loving myself / Needing nobody else.” The chords help bring a strange and lonely eeriness to the lyrics. The chorus then comes in with harsh synth chords and a hard hitting bass kick. The whole song is good, but it’s the eerie beginning that sticks with you the most.
With this album, we see Ryan Hemsworth further embracing a love for airy and bright melodies. The songs that include lyrics have memorable hooks, but don’t really deliver on the verses. It also has less of a Hip Hop and R&B influence than much of his previous work. It’s definitely more for fans of indie-pop and electronica. Although there isn’t anything really groundbreaking, Alone For The First Time is still a very enjoyable album.