Published Sep 25, 2018The debut album from Ralph, aka Raffaela Weyman, continues in a similar vein to last year's excellent self-titled EP. Over exquisite pop and feather-light R&B production, the Toronto singer offers her unique takes on relationships, both romantic and otherwise, without succumbing to modern pop tropes. And while that might sound simple on paper — shouldn't that be the MO of any pop artist? — in practice it's no easy feat.
Rather than building songs around a beat or instrumental hook, Weyman, a trained singer with a charismatic voice, makes that the centre of each composition, and her melodies the hook. It gives her music a classic aesthetic, even while keeping both feet firmly planted in the 21st century.
Opener "For Yourself," is a prime example. Though it starts with a distorted vocal sample (think the disembodied sounds that kick off so many Purpose-era Bieber singles), played in a repetitive staccato pattern, it's Weyman's voice, which follows that same rhythm, that sucks you into its self-empowerment world. It's a subtle but effective trick she pulls off across A Good Girl's ten tracks.
Advanced singles "Weather" and "Tables Have Turned" remain high points, but it's final track "Cereal" that leaves the biggest impression. Building a scene around someone having an emotional breakdown over their morning bowl of Cheerios is a novel and relatable image. The simple production, buoyed by backing vocals from Milk & Bone, is unique to the record, making it an easy highlight, even while retroactively revealing the relative sonic uniformity of all the tracks that have come before.
Nevertheless, A Good Girl is a unique outlier in the sea of pop records. This is music for dancing and getting lost in your feelings. (604)