At the start of a new year, one can’t help but reflect on what’s going on in their life. I’ve got a fairly long drive to get to work, which means a lot of time every day to just listen to music and let my mind wander. Several weeks ago, I added Speak Low If You Speak Love’s Nearsighted to my library for these drives, and since then it has been an essential part of these gloomy winter commutes. I was already familiar with Ryan Scott Graham’s songwriting from Speak Low’s previous album, Everything but What You Need, but that didn’t prepare me for this album, which took what we already knew Graham could do and elevated it all into something truly special.
Nearsighted is an example of how self-reflection can help you to make sense of yourself and how to move forward from difficult feelings. The album opens with “Have I Changed,” a song in which Graham is trying to figure out why it is that he feels so skeptical and apathetic. The song opens with ambient synthesizers rather than the familiar acoustic guitar of his previous work, already signaling a departure from his previous sound. As the song goes on, the instrumentation builds, adding guitar and piano before stripping itself back for the song’s thesis, “I cannot put my thumb on when I went so numb.” From there, he spends the rest of the album trying to figure that out. Continue reading Album Review: Speak Low If You Speak Love – Nearsighted