Ryan Beatty at the House of Blues San Diego

On Monday, March 18, Ryan Beatty performed an intimate yet memorable concert at the House of Blues that turned out to be something completely unexpected.

Many remember Beatty as this formulaic teen heartthrob with the Justin Bieber-esque side-swept hair who made multiple appearances on Radio Disney. Today, that person no longer exists. In his place is an open and authentic artist who has perfected an album that embodies his tumultuous journey in life and music.

Boy in Jeans experiments with synthetic sounds, jazzy basslines, and RnB expressions, a style similar to that of Frank Oceanand a total change to his former clean-cut radio releases. Due to the limited selection of songs, Ryan played through his album in order and respectively opened with “Haircut.” This track, a mellow tune that represents Ryan’s acceptance of his sexuality, sets an ambient and relaxed mood for the remainder of the show. Simply adorned in red shorts and a black crewneck, Ryan’s vibrant stage presence compensated for his casual appearance as he made the spotlight his own. The crowd was practically breaking through the barriers, soaking in every word he sang.

Songs such as “Cupid” and “Bruise” are simple compositions that are, nonetheless, stunning to witness live. “Cupid,” for one, highlighted Ryan’s soulful voice while accompanied by a delicate piano. His ability to belt out riffs with ease and create minuscule inflections during a live performance is a sign of vocal maturity and indisputable talent. “Bruise” is another fan favorite and tells the familiar story of a gay boy who is in a secret relationship with his “superstar,” in-the-closet man. As his audience screamed out the lyrics “Pony boy ride on, ride on, ride on me / In my dreams, in my f*cking dreams,” Ryan was having the time of his life, and repeatedly thanked his fans for their unconditional support.

The show continued with sanguine performances of “Camo” and “Money” driven by earwormy falsettos and headnod worthy beats. To match the quirky lyricism and funky instrumentation, Ryan was, according to him, “moving onstage like a crazy person” but that just made the experience even more enjoyable. “Powerslide,” however, was my favorite performance of the night because Ryan and the crowd were simply lost in the music; so lost, in fact, that he played it twice with unwavering energy.

Unfortunately, every show must come to an end, and the end was bittersweet. The audience was serenaded with the emotional tunes “Pink Floyd” and “Flash” that describe the struggle of discovering one’s identity and how hard it is to say goodbye.

Before the concert, I had no idea what to expect of Ryan Beatty. I had listened to the album and genuinely enjoyed his releases, but never would I expected to be blown away by this former teen-pop act. His past works with BROCKHAMPTON on their track “Bleach” as well as with Tyler, the Creator should have been an indication that this kid is all grown up. I look forward to his future projects and hope to see this grossly underrated artist gain more recognition as an up-and-coming star.

Written by: Rica Perez

FYF 2017 Line-Up

The FYF Lineup has arrived and it is truly a blessing from above. With Missy Elliott and Björk headlining on the same day (July 21) and Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails headlining on the two other days (July 22-23), FYF is sure to be packed full of a diverse group of youngsters. However, the big-name stars performing at FYF come at a cost: tickets are on sale for $299 rather than $199.

FYF has evolved from a single-day attraction in 2009, to a three-day festival that features many mainstream and iconic names. Unlike Coachella, most of the people that attend FYF are there mainly for the music, not for the Instagram boomerangs and the fashion. Located in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, FYF will please fans of older music (with the #throwback hits of Tribe Called Quest and Iggy Pop), fans of current music (with Solange and Anderson.Paak) and fans of artists on the rise (such as Cherry Glazerr and Mitski).

So, below are a few artists playing at FYF that I highly suggest you check out!

Frank Ocean

It’s a no-brainer. Frank Ocean has been AWOL for a little too long, so any time he is in town or playing a show nearby, it’s basically mandatory! He dropped an album last year called “Blonde” and has so many great hits within that album, such as “Solo” and “Ivy.” He still has the iconic album “Channel Orange” under his belt, as well. When he performs the songs “Thinking of You” and “Super Rich Kids,” I’ll definitely be there screaming the words.

Photo (A Seat at the Table) by Dani Miller. Click image to view source. Photo unchanged. License

Solange

The goddess herself is sharing her beautiful music with us at FYF. Solange is known for her pop/R&B album, “A Seat At The Table,” which covers many subjects ranging from the Black Lives Matter protests to black culture in general. It’s refreshing to see Solange making a name for herself, other than “Beyonce’s sister.” I, for one, am a firm believer that her music proves to be genuine and unique, rather than commercialized and stereotypical. Not to mention, she has really good dance moves. So, go see Solange at FYF to feel #empowered.

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen, an angel herself, will be blessing us with hits such as “Shut Up, Kiss Me” and “Intern” from her latest album, “My Woman.” With a more pop/gritty sound that showcases pain, love and self reflection, her music will sound beautiful live at FYF. I was able to watch some of her set at Coachella 2014, and it’s true that her music definitely has changed from “sad girl” music to a more upbeat sound. Because of that, I’m even more excited to see and hear her new music live at FYF.

I could talk about this line-up for hours, but this would turn into a novel, so I won’t. However, a few other notable performers playing at FYF that I think you should see are Tribe Called Quest, King Krule, Hannibal Buress, Björk and Cherry Glazerr! Have a great rest of your week, Aztecs!

Ashley Bajet,

signing out.

 

Featured Image by FYF.

 

Now Listening: Best of Summer 2016

Hey Aztecs! Welcome back to another semester of Now Listening with Lala! Even through we’re back on track with school and Fall is just around the corner, I’ve still got sweet sweet Summertime on my mind. With that said, I’ll be sharing the Top 3 albums dropped during the Summer of 2016 that you should be paying attention to.

1. Freetown SoundBlood Orange 

Devonté “Dev” Hynes began making music under the pseudonym Blood Orange in 2011. His most recently released album, Freetown Sound is simultaneously soothing and striking. As he speaks out to the racial injustice in modern day society through his music, the tones of Freetown Sound are melodic and jazzy.

A unique tool that Hynes exercises in this album is the use of vocal clips, spoken-word poems, and narratives. These clips give insight to struggle of colored people and refers multiple times to the Black Lives Matter movement. Songs such as “Hands Up” and “Love Ya” quite openly address the issues of the racial inequality that is occuring in today’s society. While a heavily emotional album, Freetown Sound is intense and empowering. It is uplifting and hopeful for positive change in the future. The sheer rawness of these tracks are what make this album so special. Check out the song “Best of You” below.

 

2. BlondeFrank Ocean

Highly anticipated and probably not so patiently awaited, Frank Ocean has finally released new music since Channel Orange in 2012. Blonde is much more meditative and calming. This album is cozy and emotional. In addition, it strays from Ocean’s previous album, which pursues a more eclectic and funky sound. A clear maturation of Frank Ocean as a person and his music is what can be heard through Blonde. 

Abstract and mysterious, the R&B roots that Ocean came from are hard to find in Blonde. The tracks lack a lot of rythym and beat, replaced with lots of avant-garde melodies. Receiving mixed reviews, Blonde is vastly different from the Frank Ocean most love and know. This new direction is not at all stepping backwards, just sideways. At 28, Ocean is expressing a multidimensional self and the track “Ivy” portrays this well. Percussionless and heavy with guitar reverb, this song reflects on Ocean’s youth and past regret. The stripped down track is one of many examples of the emotion Frank puts forth on the album. Listen to the first track “Nikes” below.

 

3. HOPELESSNESSANOHNI

Formerly releasing music Antony, ANOHNI has authored a radical album that progresses towards change thats is both necessary and positive. HOPELESSNESS is a protest and dance anthem at the same time. Addressing issues such as racism, peace, even climate change, the melodic and peaceful sounds that ANOHNI presents in this album are deceiving. If you listen closely, ANOHNI is hoppingly mad at what is going on in the world today and uses music to express so. Passionately delivered, the tracks to this album are intense and highly emotional.

With such heavy subject matter, ANOHNI is still able to create an album  carrying to a beat that makes the listener want to jive and vibe.The track “Drone Bomb Me” portrays all that ANOHNI is expressing very well. This album is astoundingly melodic, a combination of both jazz and electronic music. Check out “Crisis” below.

 

All of these albums cry out against multiple injustices in today’s modern society. Sweet reminders that we are all human, and kindness is key ❃ You can listen in on my show “In Your Speaker” from 3-4 pm on Tuesdays!