Friday, January 02, 2009

#93 Ryan Cabrera, "Enemies"

Don't say that we're something we're not
We think too much, then we're gonna get caught
Don't say that we're something we're not
The truth is maybe I wanna get caught

Betrayal and revenge are the subject of Ryan Cabrera's first musical hook-up with the '80's. "Enemies" isn't fully synth-pop-rock but it's a step in that direction, which is a surprising but also surprisingly welcome one for Ryan. Originally a member of the teen-pop brigade--on of the artists launched in the early '00's to take advantage of it but with his acoustic guitar always emphasized as part of both his image and his still fully produced and fleshed out musical sound--Ryan struggled to get his second major label album to sell and consequently disappeared for a while. He randomly popped up on So You Think You Can Dance sporting a radically changed hairstyle--gone was his trademark spikey blonde hair and in its place was long curly black hair and a hat. Apparently deciding that wasn't enough to distance himself from his clean-cut past and repaint himself as both part of a scenester-style movement and a "serious artist," when he emerged again, he'd ditched the hat but added a frankly ridiculous black goatee and mustache. Oh, yeah, and also brought some new music with him.

His songwriting skills were apparently uninjured by all the black dye, even if most of America paid no attention. The Mood Under Water is not a brilliant album, but it does have some great songs on it. "Enemies" was one of them. Half confession and half pop-rock blowout, it's the moment where Ryan's still unconvincing altered image comes through and is channeled most successfully. It's the sort of thing that will probably never be cool enough for those dark clubs Ryan is courting but that would do a fantastic job of soundtracking all the goings-on in the darkened corners of those clubs.

Addendum: since Ryan's management apparently seems to see his hair as a Samson-like source of power for him, I feel I must mention that apparently he is now facial hair-free and sporting a spikey brown poofball of hair on his head now. A compromise?

Find it on: The Moon Under Water

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