Ryan Smith “I Just Want To Feel That Way”


Ryan Smith’s new EP, “I Just Want To Feel That Way” is a bit darker in lyrical content, a bit more experimental in sound, a big stretch from the singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar he’s often associated with, and in quite heavy rotation on my iPod these days. It also could be the best six Paul Westerberg songs that Paul Westerberg neither wrote nor recorded. That’s a huge compliment (If you just said “Who?” just stop reading now and Google the genius that is Paul Westerberg, The Replacements, and head out and purchase his amazing solo work. Now. Really. Google. Now.).

Ryan’s previous release, “Neil Avenue,” is a long-time favorite, and as anyone who knows me knows the in-between single release “Girls With The Glasses” knows that so could be my life story.

But with “I Just want To Feel That Way” Ryan shows he has grown as a songwriter, and musician, and is able to comfortably move away from the single six-string and incorporate multi-instrumental mixing, layering, and tracking, along with some noise and sound effects that really add to the darker lyrical context here.

Song by song breakdown:

1. Good Intentions Where do go now from this place? Straight into a great track with a wonderful mix of instruments, all layered right and mixed well. It’s the track that sets the tone for the album.

2. This Is Not A Tragedy A guitar heavy track (both acoustic and electric) that tells the abstract tales of “a bad bad thing” that turns out to be a blessing, to someone involved.

3. Santa Cruz This is perhaps my favorite song on the EP, a collection of urban legends, broken hearts, disappointment and hypocricy pulled together on a piano backbone with some wicked guitar licks in between verses.

“Just a few hours ago my bride-to-be
Told me she didn’t know me that well.
Now she’s on a bus to Boston
I’m doin’ alright in Hell.
You ain’t heard the worst of it yet.
There’s a part I regret.”

4. A Few Hundred Miles Another lost love song that opens with the line “Won’t you come back from Kentucky, tell me that you love me, and I’ll stop lying about your death.” Toss in bus tickets, a new man, a ring and a lost wedding invitation … it just gets better!

5. I Just Want To Feel That Way A very great tune that really drove home the Paul Westerberg reference. There’s nothing better than a great missing you and how you made me feel song. Paul Westerberg made a solo career out of (think “Love Untold” or “Lookin’ Out Forever”)

6. Following The Ambulance Home Death comes early here, leaving the narrator to question his own life, wonder about his death, and everything that surrounds and intertwines both. Great use of sound effects, violin and questioning everything.

You can buy this from iTunes, amazon and rhapsody … it’s well worth the $6.

Ryan Smith on Myspace

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