For RALPH, her new EP “Flashbacks & Fantasies” is all about embracing herself. Tired of following the unwritten rules of pop, she threw away whatever guidelines she’d felt restricted by in the past. Across all six tracks she explores hazy levels of love and desire, complete with soaring synths, pounding drums, and the tangy charms that only retro-future pop can offer.
With a crystal clear, even insistent, voice backed by smooth production, RALPH is a rush of soft energy. “Gravity,” inspired by the singer’s love of 90’s house-y dance songs, stands as the first offering from her new EP. In conceiving the track, RALPH strove to let go of anything overthought: “I liked the idea of gravity being the overall theme because it’s not overly emotional or complicated.” The song is as comfortable on a dance floor as a chilled out get together.
Next up, “No Muss No Fuss” takes it a bit easier, with eyes set on a bedroom dance session. “I overheard a girl in Montreal talking to her friend about how a guy had ghosted her, then started showing up at all her favorite spots in town. She was like, “he has spidey senses, he can feel that I’m finally over him and NOW he wants me!” I totally got it, I’ve been there, so I wanted to write a sassy song about it.”
“Looking for You,” her latest single, accompanied with a music video, is inspired by Ariana Grande and a vanity license plate – “I was stuck in traffic one day and the license plate in front of me read ‘LQQKIN4U’. I took a pic and went into the studio with that as my inspiration. The words and the story just kind of evolved from there.” – takes a more wounded, chilled out tact, offering up a groove that’d make the likes of Noah “40” Shebib and The xx do a double take.
About the “Looking For You” music video, RALPH shares:One night after “some” wine, my dear friend Matt brain stormed a music video concept – a lead character who keeps catching brief glimpses of this recurring person, but every time they try to see their face, the stranger is obstructed by something then disappears. When I reached out to Rosanna Peng, a talented Toronto/LA director I admire, I floated this idea for the ‘Looking For You’ video…and she was totally down. Her videos are so unique and aesthetically driven that I knew she could nail it. After adding our own personal quirks and trademarks, we managed to create a visual story that we feel encompasses the feeling of the song perfectly. The dreamy bedroom scenes (my own bedroom!) connect to the honest, intimate lyrics, while the colourful styling and character intros keep the video light and fun. It’s not about desperation or needing someone to fulfill you, it’s about excitement and the myth of “’love at first sight.'”
The EP picks back up with “Last Time,” a track that takes on the conflicted rush of emotions that come encountering an ex, dials the energy right back up, with a punchy, in your face chorus offset by softer verses complete with ethereal humming.
“Headphone Season” is a no-time-for-your-drama, hangover mood board. RALPH explains, “I’ve always wanted to write a song about how frustrating it is to have a stranger on the street tell you to smile, it boils my blood.” It’s a bop for any of us who’ve wanted to just wear our earbuds all day, and avoid any conversation whatsoever. So, you know, all of us.
“Sunday Girl” is yet another leap into a different world for RALPH, with a beat so joyous and verses so intent on worming right into your ears that it wouldn’t feel entirely out of place in a K-Pop universe. Mined from a surprisingly somber mood – “It reminded me of the pains of casual dating, when all I wanted was to hang out on a Sunday and drink coffee and go for a walk together” – it’s still a genuine blast.
At once identifiable and difficult to properly categorize, no more Ariana than Robyn adjacent, with shades of Sade and Stevie Nicks to boot, RALPH is here to warm up your winter playlists.
* = with joan
Dec 5th: Toronto, ON @ ModClub
Dec 7th: New York, NY @ Berlin
Feb 5th – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt*
Feb 6th – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl*
Feb 8th – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd*
Feb 9th – Allston, MA @ Great Scott*
Feb 11th – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge*
Feb 12th – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge *
Feb 15th – Cleveland, OH @ Beachtend Tavern*
Feb 16th – Chicago, IL @ Schubas*
Feb 17th – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry*
Feb 19th – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall*
Feb 20th – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court*
Feb 22nd – Seattle, WA @ Columbia City Theatre*
Feb 23rd – Portland, OR @ Holocene*
Feb 26th – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord*
Feb 27th – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan *
Feb 29th – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar*
Mar 2nd – Dallas, TX @ Dada*
Mar 3rd – Austin, TX @ Stubbs Indoors*
Mar 4th – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall*
Mar 10th – Victoria, BC @ Lucky Bar
Mar 11th – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore
Mar 13th – Calgary, AB @ Dickens
March 14th – Edmonton, AB @ Temple
March 16th – Winnipeg, MB @ Good Will SC