ALBUM REVIEW: RALPH'S 'FLASHBACKS & FANTASIES' EXUDES AN UNDENIABLE PRESENTATION OF GROWTH AND ARTISTRY

Photo by: Mariah Hamilton
Following the success of her debut single "Trouble" back in 2015 and signing to 604 Records, RALPH began shaping her self-titled debut release.

RALPH – like her debut full-length A Good Girl, came as a refreshing fusion of dance, disco, R&B and pop music – unique and unassigned to one particular genre. With inspiration from Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, Cher and Sade, she creates a truly captivating concoction of sounds – old and new, paired with lyrics that spawn from life experiences.

With her third collective release, RALPH returns with a heightened sense of confidence and craftsmanship. Her old school influences still echo throughout the six tracks on her sophomore EP Flashbacks & Fantasies.

Flashbacks & Fantasies is full of certified dance-floor bops, bouncing beats, vulnerable lyricism and a unifying throwback aesthetic to deliver a variety of sounds and stories surrounding love, lust and life.

The leading song "Gravity" is a 90s synth smash mixed with a touch of house about wanting to "let go" and "lose control" by giving into temptation with an overpowering feeling of infatuation – asking the question "Would you catch me if I float?" This addition to her discography is quite possibly her best single to-date.

"I really wanted to have fun with this EP and wanted to play with the idea of “pop” being a flexible term. Sometimes I’d enter the studio with a concrete idea and I’d sit down and be like “ok here’s the plan”, like with ‘Gravity’, and other days I would go in and be like “hey, I can’t stop thinking about this license plate that I love”, which was the instigator behind ‘Looking For You’. I liked the idea of experimenting and surprising people, like writing a fast dance song that felt unexpected from a mid-tempo banger girl, but I also didn’t want to feel constricted by guidelines or rules that I had followed in the past. Instead of being scared to try new things, like having a jarring rhythm or singing about sexy moments, I embraced them. And because of that, I have 6 songs that all feel diverse but feel really, truly ME. I think as I continue to feel more confident and comfortable in my artistry and sound, the songs and writing reflect that maturity." 

     
No Muss, No Fuss” tells a tale of turning down a former flame who can’t move on. Verses go into detail about stalker-like behaviour from an ex, who she wants to distance herself from, RALPH sings "I keep on seeing you every goddamn day. No I don't miss you, don't wanna kiss you. We'll never be us again."

Indulging in flashbacks, "Last Time" is a song about a familiar cyclic relationship, a confessional about a magnetic connection in the midst of a breakup because "heartbreak's hard enough without your ex still in your bed."      

A highlight on the record is "Headphone Season" which sharply conveys an important message about not seeking validation from men nor society.

Ralph explains:

"It’s about when a stranger asks me to give them a smile or to smile more. I hate that because it’s someone telling me what to do with my face or body. At the end of the song you hear me saying, ‘Here’s an idea. How about you never tell women what to do with their own bodies?’”


A hazy-sounding ballad about finding the perfect partner, "Looking For You" aligns with the fantasy aspect of the EP, followed by "Sunday Girl." Seemingly a page ripped out from RALPH's diary, the closing disco funk track is about longing to be in a domestic relationship.

RALPH's Flashbacks & Fantasies exudes an undeniable presentation of growth and artistry. She continues to connect deeply on each and every track as her story-telling abilities attest to that. Sonically, she has proven –  again, to be a brilliantly diverse force in an era when so many songs sound so much the same.

What genuinely makes this EP stand out is it's outstanding artistic direction. There is a distinct aesthetic that flows throughout the music, lyrics, videos and artwork that create a cleverly consolidated vibe that perfectly personifies the album's title.

RALPH is on the rise and ready to conquer the ever-evolving pop realm, her way.




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