Rookie Of The Year - The Most Beautiful

Album cover
Acoustic, Pop
Future Destination Records
Rookie Of The Year
The Most Beautiful
Rookie Of The Year - The Most Beautiful Review rating:
3.5
User rating:
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

In 2006, Rookie of the Year released The Goodnight Moon; a beautifully entrenched collection of twelve well-crafted songs. The album may be the one of the most overlooked works in this contemporary emotional-rock generation. Laced in absolutely lush ethereal beauty, and layer upon layer of gorgeous melodies, Rookie of the Year set the bar with The Goodnight Moon. Unfortunately to their own peril, any subsequent albums they crafted fell under the boulder of great expectations. For example, 2008’s Sweet Attention strayed too far into a world of poppy clutter. After the all-too-brief EP Since I Left Your World shined light on a slightly new direction, the “band’s” lone member, and original creator Ryan Dunson released his latest full-length The Most Beautiful.

With his best work in four years, Dunson has created quite an eclectic mix of tracks that range from electronic to organic. His high-pitched vocals have been likened to Aaron Marsh (ex-Copeland), and use a similar technique to Marsh’s production style. His voice is filtered through a wonderful layer of reverberation that makes it sound like he’s singing in an empty church sanctuary, yet at the same time seems like he’s right next to you. Dunson’s croon has always felt compassionate and he’s careful not to hold a note too long, but instead allow the ambient musicianship to be the ultimate filler.

Opening track “Run Away” is as catchy as they come. First time listening, and the melody is stuck in your head for days. Backed by an electronic beat, possibly for lack of a percussionist, the synthetic textures by no means take away from the track’s stellar appeal. Dunson has the incredible ability of combining accessibility with sincere musical craftsmanship. While the first half of the album, with the exception of “Bizarre Love Triangle”, a two-minute simple yet lovely display of heartfelt songwriting, sways more towards a synthetic realm, the second half of the album is astoundingly authentic. “Stars Fade Blue” may be one of the most beautiful tracks created this year, with a piano piece that makes the heart swoon, and Dunson reverently exclaiming during the bridge “In my eyes she’s perfect.”

Displaying excellent networking, Dunson has enlisted the help of a few notable guests. Erika Lauren from MTV’s The Real World: Washington D.C. (guest vocals on “Take These Words”), Relient K’s Matt Thiessen (piano on “Bizarre Love Triangle”), The Juliana Theory’s Brett Detar (co-wrote “Spinning Around”), and The Friday Night Boy’s Andrew Goldstein (co-wrote “Frustrated (Hurricane)”).

While The Most Beautiful still nowhere near the lilting beauty of The Goodnight Moon, it’s still a great effort by an experienced artist, and certainly his best work since their greatly heralded sophomore release.

1. Run Away
2. Frustrated (Hurricane)
3. Turn the Page (100 Miles)
4. Bizarre Love Triangle
5. Don’t Tear Me Apart
6. Spinning Around
7. Stars Fade Blue
8. Take These Words

Music is thoroughly entwined with our lives—organically spreading from person to person and city to city, leaving a trail of devotees in its wake. Singer-songwriter Ryan Dunson, who has played under the name Rookie of the Year since 2004, has embraced this fact, crisscrossing the country nearly a dozen times, winning hearts and developing a deeply personal connection with his fans.

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