The intro album review

Some artists only ever have a few minutes of fame in a hit song, but for up-and-coming artist Ruth Berhe, seven second songs were enough to launch the start of a music career. After an unconventional start on the social media platform Vine, 20-year-old Berhe, better known as RUTH B, ranked top 5 in iTunes singer/songwriter category with her first EP, The intro. A substantial fan base then propelled her into a contract with Columbia Records.

With her debut EP titled the intro, Berhe presents four dreamy songs with floating piano and melodic vocals. Most surprising in Berhe’s work is her ability to match her voice with instrumentals without overpowering, as well as her impressive songwriting skills in general. The structures of all four songs were clean and refined – but particularly “Lost Boy” – was novel enough to peak at 75 on the Billboard Hot 100. Berhe plans to release another album in the spring.

My personal favorite on the EP is “2 Poor Kids” with it’s melody reminiscent of a softer Monica Heldal and story of a pair of young people surviving together, although it is far less popular than “Lost Boy” and “Superficial Love”. In its entirety however, Berhe’s EP is entirely fun to listen to, and there is not a bad song in the release. “Lost Boy” is a particular among young teens, and while the song itself is not as unique as others in the EP, Berhe’s lyrics are extremely imaginative and provide a wonderful take on the story of Peter Pan.

As a whole, the best feature of the EP is its variety of topics. Doing well with the traditional topic of “Superficial Love,” she presents it in a refreshing manner unlike other modern artists who fail to recognize the necessary balance between lust and true partnership. It’s a breath of fresh air in the Billboard Hot 100 to hear somebody call shallow romance by its name. She also demonstrates skill in writing songs like stories, as she says “Golden” and “2 Poor Kids” came from incidental inspiration and tackle topics of confidence and dependency beyond the traditional love story.

However, while “Golden” and “2 Poor Kids” set an atmosphere for the collection, they do not provide much needed contrast from “Lost Boy,” much like if you took Adele’s 21 and took out the hit singles.

What will be decisive in analysis of Berhe’s talent over the next year is undoubtedly her ability to vary her pieces, as boring albums often bring similar singer-songwriters down as quickly as they rise to popularity. Resources and flexibility are the keys to steady careers. There is a small chance of Berhe becoming the next Damien Jurado, but a couple more varied albums could help her in the early years.

Berhe’s voice is also a strong point in her work, which while not uniquely powerful, is agile and very enjoyable in her contemporary genre. Most of all, she is adept even this early in her music career at making her listeners feel emotion, and audiences can definitely look forward to future releases in 2016 as her voice and musical character evolve.

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives the intro 7.5/10