Picture via Facebook
First of all, let’s take this out of our way, yes, you may know him as a character of the most famous television series ever, Game of Thrones. But this is not about that, this is about music, among the best created so far this year. Raleigh Ritchie is the music stage name for the Bristol-born actor and musician Jacob Anderson. You’re a Man Now, Boy is the title of his debut album, a powerful R&B meets electronic lovely and addictive experience.
Jacob or Raleigh first steps were when he recorded I Need Love with rapper Plan B. for the soundtrack of Adulthood in 2008. Six years later he released an E.P. entitled Black and Blue Point Two with some experimental remixes, and other E.P. entitled The Middle Child EP which marked his first incursions into the type of music he now creates. The album must have began in 2014 with the release of the Black and Blue E.P. integrating 3 songs from the debut album, among which was the ever promising Bloodsport, later remastered to Bloodsport’15 and released as a single in 2015. Two years later he matured to the point that some months ago he pulled out a 12 song-length album (18 in the deluxe version), which never disappoints. Not even for a bit. Shifting from resembles to Stevie Wonder‘s music, to Erykah Badu‘s rhythms and sort-of-raps, to even more experimental takes and mixes between RnB, rock and electronic bits. This is a full review of that album, because, for us, it is that good.
The best is to start from the beginning. So we would like to challenge you to press play on Werld is Mine. The strong drums, the singing mixed rap encompassing the song, builds it up to a very strong pop song. “I wanna live forever, I wanna be your friend, I wanna rule together, I wanna be your pet, I wanna make some money, money, money, I wanna waste some time, I wanna be your buddy, but honey, this world is mine”. Soon he hits the chorus, it’s hard to let go. Then unpredictably, he forces the rap, and it’s like it was meant to be. First song, instant hit.
Stronger Than Ever builds from a more sensitive start, but carries on the catchy feeling and the strong rap-y ending. Again the super-musical chorus “And I fall, fall, fall, when it all comes down” shows Raleigh capability to be at the same time intense and telling.
Love is a Bloodsport for sure. Very focused on the power of words, the most powerful song of the album, is like love itself. Sometimes, sad, sometimes dramatic, but usually driving and exciting. The sentences “I I fall short, I I break rank, It’s a bloodsport but I understand, I’m all yours, I’m a man, I’m on all fours, willingly down” are again the fuel to the chorus. A storytelling showcasing Raleigh Ritchie range.
If by now you don’t want to hit the pause button, we understand. I Can Change begins with the kind of pace that makes our airs stand up at the same time as it fulfills us with the urge to sing like we are in the shower. The high voice in the chorus, and the Massive Attack background are just the cherry on top. This takes us to a unknown world we don’t want to leave any more. Every single time it plays.
After that, he gets down to earth for the next songs in the album. Keep it Simple is a beautiful ectro-pop song with a dancing feeling and hip-hop cameo from Stormzy. The Greatest sounds like a cool wake-up song and a motivational war-cry with the capability of sounding like a mixture of different voices, even thought all come from the same person. Never Better is a discurse of someone who meets the one and one of the most romantic songs in the album, a urban declaration of love which feels very 90’s.
Then Raleigh takes us to a more experimental part of the album. Cowards is a slow-paced RnB song about the irony of love, with a street feeling to the chorus. A Moor is a fully electronic song, somehow similar to what Bipolar Sunshine does best. Young & Stupid builds upon the same electronic feeling but mixes it up with a very warm RnB singing, and a romantic feeling.
You’re a Man Now, Boy the song, is one of those songs very hard to let go from the very beginning. Surprisingly deep, it’s repetitiveness transmits the idea of becoming and adult, the introspection and the self-motivation needed until we reach a point where everything is more melodic, and makes more sense. Just like the song ending.
Closing the album, The Last Romance, is probably the most close to a ballad we can hear Raleigh singing. It is a sad one, but music like life, is full of dramatic moments. And those sad moments are, like this example, very necessary. And it is probably not a coincidence that such an inspiring and motivating album ends like this. It is only a matter of hitting that repeat album button.
You can hear the entire deluxe version of the superb You’re a Man Now, Boy in the Spotify or right here: