Review Summary: Grey Worm finds himself clarity and peace thru the chaos of fame.
I never cared myself to have much of an obsession towards the HBO show, “Game of Thrones”, as many in my inner circle had been. But I was interested enough to watch the near decade it ran. In the show’s third season, struck into the fold of its universe was a warrior by the name of Grey Worm. He was quiet, introverted when battle didn’t strike, and with a past best left forgotten. Grey Worm was one of the most underrated characters of the HBO epic. Little knowing that underneath the armor he bore on set, was a promising singer named Jacob Anderson, who has been side-showing a music career during, and after the show’s run. Aliased as Raleigh Ritchie, named after favorite characters from a 2001 Wes Anderson flick, he’s been bubbling up a promising music resume. Catapulted by his 2016 debut, “You’re a Man Now, Boy”, Raleigh has shifted from acting for his musical pursuit. That decision couldn’t have been any better with his second foot forward in “Andy”, a self-evaluating breakdown of lows, striving to better days on the horizon.
With an interview with the multimedia outlet WWD, Raleigh comes forth by putting forward that this second effort is a pile up of “talking about the weird couple years [he’s] had”. A sift thru the sand, out of all the hustle and bustle that he’s had since global recognition put his name out there. The indie-pop, diverse production reflects Raleigh’s battle of these struggles with it, anxiety, and introversions, ambient with beautiful strings, bombastic horns, and uptight bass. The fight begins with the menacing “Pressure”, an entry focused on his desire for normalcy among the anxieties of fame. Pulsated by tense, burning strings and Raleigh’s gentle vocals, he tangles with this anguish in raw, genuine fashion. You also can feel his progress evolving thru it to brighter pastures, like the therapeutic violin-fest “Time In A Tree”, an effort where Raleigh finds strength above that pressure. Lines like, “hurt myself too many times to count/I need to let it out/and just release”, find Ritchie his way to better times. More realizations of this happier reality come to be with eye-openers such as the bouncy “Shadow”, a letter to toxic relationships and former past selves that no longer are.
In darkness, there is light, and that glimpse of hope is what honestly drives “Andy” forward with Raleigh’s pairing of gentle, emotive vocals amongst a graceful blend of sound. It is some of the most smart, heartfelt pop you’ll hear in a year filled in chaos. You’d think by the claim of being deemed a “sad-boi album” by Raleigh himself, that it would be heckled down by it and not letting up. But it doesn’t, with uplifting vibes resonating around this personal diary of Raleigh’s struggles. A real look in the mirror at himself, and a through self-evaluation that finds him clarity and inner peace. In the closer “Big & Scared”, Raleigh tells his younger self to “take a break, look into the sun/And celebrate the human you’ve become”. After this sure coming of age, he should celebrate that glory in triumph.