In the record industry, youth is one of the most important factors in the development of an artist. It’s no secret that the distribution of many mainstream musicians work is being controlled by ageism – see the Madonna/BBC debacle from earlier this year. Labels desire the young – most profitable — artists, but also want the artist’s musical output to reflect a cohesive, focused direction of someone much older.
Enter Ryn Weaver, a 22 year old indie pop singer-songwriter, whose viral hit “OctaHate” commanded attention a year ago with its sugar rush of a chorus and bouncy percussion hook courtesy of Cashmere Cat. Almost a full year later, Weaver has finally released her debut LP The Fool through Interscope Records and Mad Love. Those expecting an entire album full of the same type of single will be disappointed, however the record is a tightly cohesive set of 11 songs that all encompass emotions surrounding youth.
Album opener “Runaway” plays like the opening credits of a film. Weaver’s signature falsetto has been tampered with to heighten the emotion packed in lyrics like “They tell me temper, temper little lady / Better bite that tongue, it is not becoming” before distant warbles and tribal drums dominate the mix. The song sets up the rest of the record as Weaver replays criticisms she’s encountered due to her age and how she ignores them in favor of staying true to herself.
“Pierre” serves as a foil to “Runaway” as Weaver critiques her own actions on behalf of her naivety. She describes her relationship with a man “Pierre” and how her experiences with other men have left her both hopelessly infatuated with him and unable to be vulnerable. What sounds sad on paper ends up sounding joyous with quickly delivered spoken vocals and an effervescent chorus that provides just enough optimism for the closing line “I’ll come around.”
The record’s most heartfelt moment falls near the end with “Traveling Song,” a track that Weaver wrote for her late grandfather. While a large part of the album is focused on the boundlessness of her youth, “Traveling Song” is introspective in a way that reflects her acknowledgement that everything in life is fleeting. The emotional poignancy of the a-capella outro rivals the first verse of “Sail On,” but it means so much more when there’s a specific individual to accompany the song with lyrics like “On the very last day he said ‘shoot for your dreams, little girl, to the stars’ / well I’m taking you with me, now this one is ours.”
It’s effortless to like Weaver’s personality in interviews and with the release of The Fool; it shows her as someone who is unabashedly herself at all costs. The record was completed on her own terms with careful attention to the detailing of each song to create a mood and cohesive theme throughout. With a remarkably self-aware record, Weaver has begun her foray to becoming a must-know artist.