Toronto-based Queen of bops Raffa Weyman, more commonly know by her stage game Ralph, has enjoyed a good start to her career, releasing her debut album A Good Girl on Friday.
A follow up to her self titled EP, released in 2017, her debut album explores relationships, and runs the whole spectrum of feelings within them. Ralph said that she is “largely influenced by emotions and relationships, so a lot of the songs were about the complexities of [her] love life over the last year and a half.
The whole album works really well as a body of work, with the album having a consistent sound and all ten songs fitting together. This was a conscious effort, as Ralph found it hard picking only 10 to go on the album, but said that she felt ‘really happy with the selection – they felt like the strongest songs and also made sense as an album, it’s almost like they tell a chronological tale front to back.”
The album also serves as a bit of a shift sonically for Ralph, moving away from the more 80s sounding tracks of her back catalogue to introduce more of an R’n’B influence, and ‘experimenting with vocal samples and more R’n’B/soul/funk melodies and sounds’. That said, the album still has that recognisable synth-pop Ralph sound that many will have become accustomed to by listening to her previous tracks.
The album opens with ‘For Yourself’ and kicks off the album by tackling themes of independence and self-acceptance. The track consists of a prominent bass line over which Ralph’s vocal flow effortlessly, with self-esteem boosting lyrics such as: “you don’t need praises to lift you up higher/you know how to light your own fire.”
Next up is the latest single to come from the album, ‘Long Distance Lover’, and is a track about – surprise, surprise – long distance relationships. This track, like so many other Ralph tracks, features strong drums which offer plenty of opportunity to clap/click/tap your foot along with the beat. The music video for ‘Long Distance Lover’ was released on Friday.
The third track is my favourite from the album, ‘Gimme’. Probably the most disco-esque track on the album, ‘Gimme’ offers a lesson in spelling and getting what you deserve. Inspired by Cardi B’s ‘Lick’, Ralph described ‘Gimme’ as a little over the top, and a ‘tongue-in-cheek disco/pop track about working hard and having it pay off’.
Track four is ‘Tables Have Turned’, a song about losing the ‘upper hand’ in a relationship, completely falling for your other half and being unable to think of anything else. The chorus is instantly loveable, consisting of a heavy bass line joined by pulsing synths with Ralph’s vocoder vocals layered over the top.
‘Weather’, was the last single released before the release of the album. It’s a song about reaching the end of summer and question, will the relationship last or was it just a heat of the moment thing? Once again it’s the drums that pique your interest, as you’re subconsciously nodding your head along to it.
The sixth track on the album is the insanely dancy – the danciest track on the record – ‘Bedroom Eyes’. This absolute bop hooks you in immediately with sharp synths and Ralph’s shirt and punchy vocals. Written specifically as a challenge from a friend to write a flirty and fun song, Ralph said: ‘it’s fun to have a song on the album that’s less emotionally charged and relies more on a catchy hook and wicked production to get the audience feeling fired up’. ‘September Fades’ represents a change for Ralph, who’s previous EP had very much taken the stance of the person being hurt in a relationship. This song is an honest confrontation of when the roles where reversed, taking advantage of the other person and their love, being unable to reciprocate. The track ends with a complex mix of layered vocals which cuts to a smooth synth line.
Track eight starts to slow things down. ‘Dark Clouds’ is a slower and softer song, written for a friend who was going through a tough time. It’s a really sweet song that reminds the listener that they aren’t alone in whatever they might be struggling though. The penultimate track on the record is ‘Girl Next Door’, which has a feature from fellow Canadian TOBi. This feature came about via a simple DM, and his smooth rap section really adds to the track.
The album closes with ‘Cereal’, the ultimate relatable track. Who hasn’t cried into their morning bowl of Frosties? Although, to be honest I’m more of a toast man, but still. Ralph’s vocals are joined by those of fellow Canadians Milk & Bone, providing chilling high notes and harmonies.
Ralph’s full length debut is an excellent one, providing plenty of bops and opportunities to dance, but also slowing things down and hitting more personal issues. A Good Girl was well worth the wait, and there’ll be plenty of keen eyes watching what Ralph does next.