Ben Platt’s debut LP, “Sing to Me Instead,” is an exhibition in a person coming to grips with themselves at the point that they’re ready to show the world who they really are, too.
People have the capability to overcome their insecurities on their own, which is the message Platt tries to give to his listeners on “Sing to Me Instead.”
Platt, who is mostly known for his Broadway role as Evan Hansen in “Dear Evan Hansen” and as Benji in the “Pitch Perfect” film series, released his album on March 29.
The album overall has a very sad and thought-provoking tone, as Platt includes songs about issues of depression, desperation for love and the feeling of not living life to the fullest. “Ease My Mind” is a prime example, as Platt sings about losing someone who was the only person who truly understood him and was able to keep him sane. The tone of the song is accompanied by a minor-key piano and a soulful chorus in the background that gives the song a longing and sorrowful feel. The music video for the track, which dropped in February, marked Platt’s coming out as gay.
Platt employs an interesting vocal technique on this track, where he remains soft and quiet at the beginning of the song. Then, as it builds toward the melody, his voice slowly starts to crescendo. This change in volume portrays to the audience his sense of frustration from losing this special person in his life.
Another defining feature of the album is that people in transitional stages of life, and therefore college students, can find solace in the songs. Songs like “Grow As We Go” and “Older” have lyrics that reflect a person struggling with their life decisions and wondering what path to take in life –– a dilemma college students often face. Each of these songs has a sorrowful tone, with an acoustic guitar and piano used as the main instruments.
Platt also tackles the heavy topic of unhealthy relationships, with the lead single “Bad Habit” and “Hurt Me Once” depicting relationships in which one person thinks it’s perfect, while the other isn’t satisfied. But after the breakup, the one who was left alone struggles without his counterpart and feels like he has no one else in his life.
With most of the songs on the album, Platt’s go-to instruments are a grand piano and drums. However, there are a few songs on which he experiments with new sounds. “Temporary Love,” which follows the story of someone wanting to express their love to another person, has a more pounding drum beat that dominates the mix, and Platt tries to implement an R&B vocal style.
“New,” telling of someone feeling rejuvenated and becoming their own person after a breakup, is also a great example of Platt experimenting with a new sound. He uses major staccato chords on the piano and reaches for his tenor range instead of resting in his typical baritone range. This track is an outlier on the album, as Platt sings with a determined excitement, making it one of the few upbeat songs.
“Sing to Me Instead” is a personal narrative for Platt. If a person listens to the songs in chronological order, it tells the story of two people meeting and starting a relationship that, at first, seems like true love. As the album continues, the relationship becomes toxic, and it eventually leads to a breakup.
In the end, after time has passed, the tracks show one of the members of the relationship moving on and enjoying their life again, while also wishing the best for their past lover. Platt teaches his audience that being alone doesn’t mean you won’t eventually find someone to love and trust again.
Good things come to those who wait.