This isn’t a full album review: there’s not quite enough on this LP to warrant an all-out track-by-track breakdown, but I actually unexpectedly enjoyed Ryan Beatty’s sophomore album Dreaming of David, released at the end of January, more than I thought I would.

It’s another album that, at its heart, is really just a love letter–in the vein of both Hozier album, soil by serpentwithfeet, James Blake’s Assume Form, etc. The kind of album that shows that’s about Love-with-a-capital-L, and really demonstrates the height of emotion to which love can take you. This isn’t any of that one-year-anniversary sappiness, it’s the shit you read about in like, Victor Hugo novels, where one person is enough to convince you the rest of the world doesn’t matter. In practice, completely unhealthy and unrealistic, but the kind of love that’s wonderful to see play out in art.

I’ve skimmed over his previous album, Boy in Jeans, and found Haircut to be as much of a makes-me-happy-vitamin-d song as anyone else, but overall I didn’t think the album was particularly noteworthy.

Ryan Beatty already proved on Boy in Jeans that he understands the appeal of being in love as a borderline-religious experience. In God in Jeans, lines like “God is real, he was sleeping in my bed last night” give you a sense of the kind of lyrics he’s capable of writing and they’re beautiful. But God in Jeans is packaged, more or less, in your typical guitar-pop production and sunny melody, and as a result feels more Troye Sivan than serpentwithfeet. Constrained by typical-pop-production and an unwillingness to either distort past or go beyond artsy-teenager-who-skates-and-is-sad vocal delivery, the song falls flat. Many tracks Dreaming with David fall victim to the same trap: ‘Evergreen’, ‘Casino’, ‘Flowers at the Door’, ‘Backseat’ in particular feel a little generic. (That’s not say there aren’t good part of these songs themselves. Refer to the main refrain in Casino, “Love me to death or don’t give me anything,” or the floaty, breathy harmonization in the middle of Backseat and the sweetness with which “Imagine if I wasn’t magic” is delivered. But play them one time too many and they feel repetitive and like something you’ve heard before.)

Ryan Beatty—very possibly an artsy teenager who skates. But hopefully isn’t sad!

A lot of the songs are also pretty similar. It’s definitely an album you need to listen to piecewise, not continuously. And Ryan Beatty isn’t necessarily innovating. All of the tricks he’s pulling—the distortions on his voice (pitch corrections, synth), the vibe switches—it’s all been done years before by artists who came up with it first (Kanye, Frank!). So much so that when I listened to the opening of Dear April, which is old Frank now released and sounds very Endless, I thought I was hearing Ryan Beatty and my queue had gotten mixed up.

Wow, okay, that felt like a whole lot of criticism. Now to the actual point of this post.

Despite all of the album’s imperfections and everything mentioned above—there are moments on Dreaming of David when Beatty allows himself to dabble on the edge of ‘experimental’ in addition to pop, and they’re incredibly wonderful. That is to say—when it’s good, it’s really good. There’s real vulnerability and potential and magic embedded in the album if you know where to look.

The highlights are:

The titular ‘Dreaming of David’:

In the closing track on the album, Ryan Beatty’s voice is pitch-corrected to floaty and gentle heights for the entire song—his voice is used like a synth, basically. In the background, “record-skipped” versions of his voice echo. The production is dreamy and ethereal and interesting, and it induces its own gravity. The lyrics in conjunction with the production evoke a depth of emotion that can’t be anything but real:

Dreaming of David
It’s all in his honor
I don’t want to die a sudden death

When Beatty’s distorted voice sings in this utlra-falsetto: “I just want you to hold me, forever,” it’s a lyric you’ve heard probably a thousand times before on the radio but it just HITS DIFFERENT.

If you want to get yourself to fall in love with someone, play this track on surround-sound-speakers while you’re both falling asleep next to each other past midnight. This is a really, really good song, and I love it. If you know and love a David, send this to him STAT.


The first line of the song is absolutely riveting and just floods you: “Basically an atheist, he’s all that I believe in right now.” There are moments of such gentleness, and his voice, falsetto and ethereal, does wonderful things. This is a song that feels more like a hymn.

The lyrics are also brilliant, and poetry-like:

Erasing my intolerance to nicotine and you are quite the opposite
Lace it with what you offer me
Cured from ivy
Roses on loan

The moment at 1:35 where the line “This is on the radio” blends into “Hold me tightly” is so, so, so good. The rise in intensity and the comedown, literally all in those four seconds—worth waiting for. It’s really, really good.

Again, play this while you fall asleep next to someone—and boom. You’ll be in love!

The last minute of ‘In the End’

It starts out interesting enough, but it’s the re-vibe-start at 1:55ish, where the lower tone floods in with In the endddd and Ryan Beatty’s falsetto floods into the background like some sort of heavenly choir that really, really makes the track. “I believe in something I can’t see”—and you know he’s talking about a person rather than any religion.

Honorable mentions:

There was solid effort on these ones, either thematically or in terms of making the production interesting.