“WorkTapes is made up of seven little Polaroids from my life that are masquerading as songs”, Ron Pope posts on twitter publicizing the release of his newest EP.
New York City based singer-songwriter Ron Pope surprises fans with a fresh seven song EP to follow-up his 2017 album, Work. Pope, most famously recognized for his 2008 hit, “A Drop in the Ocean”, is known for producing melodic, pop-rock tunes with some indie-folk influences. Pope is excellent at cultivating unique and interesting sounds, pushing boundaries and not confining to any specific genre. His new EP, WorkTapes, focuses on simplistic instrumentation, deviating from some of his previous work, which incorporated more complex and embellished compositions. WorkTapes is an easy listen, taking listeners along a journey of self-discovery, love and figuring out the wild unknown.
Pope takes to Instagram to share his inspiration for the EP. He says, “I fall in love, I fall in lust and I seem to fall in and out of favour with the universe. Sometimes, I just fall down, but then I get up and keep searching”. “Getting back up” seems to be the core of the album’s narrative.
“Twin Falls Idaho”, the first song released from the EP, encapsulates Pope’s vision for the EP, featuring his voice along with a piano and the subtle peripheral sound of the accordion. This song is an accurate representation of the acoustic nature of the album. The softer feel of this song makes it the lightest and easiest-to-digest track on tap.
The following track, “Figure It out”, veers to a more upbeat tempo, incorporating a vibrant, yet simple, collection of instruments, including both the acoustic and electric guitar and a steady drum beat. This song features indie-folk sounds along with some bouncy country rock influences. The song is lyrically driven, employing metaphors and imageries to express his journey to figure out how to be better man. For me, this track was the highlight of the whole EP.
The EP progresses from alternative folk tracks like “Texas Wildflower Honey” to softer acoustic sounds in “Master Plan” and “Burning Bridges”. “Burning Bridges” is the catchiest track, containing repetitive lyrics and detailed musical phrases, that’s definitely bound to get stuck in your head. The last song, “Baby Brother”, has a very true “singer/songwriter” sound, featuring Pope’s voice paired with an acoustic guitar and piano. This concluding song is softer and more intimate, leaving the listener intrigued and excited to hear more of what’s to come from Pope.
The themes and ideas conveyed throughout the EP are universally applicable, ranging from small town heart break to the challenges of self-discovery. The sounds of each instrument parallels the emotion and mood articulated within the raw and honest lyrics. With every introduction of instrument and lyric, each song cultivates its own unique character, distinct yet coherent with the others on the EP. Each song represents the various obstacles Pope has experienced and overcome throughout life. Pope leaves listeners knowing that times of turmoil are learning opportunities, making us stronger and leading us down our destined path.
My recommended tracks: “Twin Falls Idaho”, “Figure It Out” and “Baby Brother”.