Last week or two? I’ve ingested lots of stuff by, and reactions to, an artist named Ren. I’ve been reluctant to share about it because.. more in paragraph 5. All the videos linked here are cute and safe-for-all:
Here’s a happy song he wrote about growing up in the 1990’s. I recognize many of these things through the eyes of my son. Video Date: 3/12/2015. This would be before stem cell transplant, probably before Lyme disease diagnosis that saved his life and named his medical condition:
He has a super wide range. There’s stuff he did with a band “The Big Push” – THE CUTEST video:
And here is a Bob Marley Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJaJyUivzVg and War Pigs cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azAD9KE9HKE
The artist himself has gone through a .. low point in his life, and right now he’s on a .. rebound, re-stabilize, focus, growth, directed, explode.. these are all words that could apply. During that down time, though, he has developed (improved?) some crazy musical (and editing and production) skills. Fountain of creativity, has the will to work it now that he has a life that is actionable again.
I think I’m reluctant to share about his more powerful stuff because it is a freaking punch in the heart. Not everybody wants this level of punch. There are .. several of his more popular songs, much darker, much deeper. Here’s a list with my interpretations. The ones that are starred, I still cry when I see them, still affected / raw / emotion.
- * Hi Ren – about dialog with the negative inner voice that ___s you (insert your word here).
- Chalk Outlines (with Chinchilla)- about being dependent on medication(?) yet how its like digging a grave(?) and how it affects how you approach the good parts of the world and the resolve of being okay even though.
- ** How to be Me (with Chinchilla) – loss of a friend to suicide, written for the friend.
- Money Game part two – Cynical about the state of power / wealth / etc corruption
- Money Game part one – don’t watch this video unless you are okay with dealing with potential violence being inflicted on a person. He is a very good actor.
- Jenny / Screech / Violet – This is a trilogy, straight up tragedy story. The last song loops the first two in, and then after all three you can see .. patterns hidden within.
- This is one of those where watching the reactions = wow I missed all that from the original watching.
- There’s a “Live” 360 version of this where he performs it from a stage. You can tell from it he has a following and he is well loved.
- There are several rap-type songs. The hook from “Genesis” sticks with me.
- There are several homage songs where he pays respect to other artists.
- I keep discovering more songs by him that I missed initially.
A note on my interpretations: these are just what I project into the music. He takes some joy seeing how people react to his music.
I have found that his songs are deep and complex enough that … I cannot absorb more than one or two in a session.
I’ve also found that .. whoever he collaborates with – he lifts them up. He spotlights them.
I’m enjoying watching reaction videos to some of his stuff – seeing people go from doubt to “holy sh*t” and then seeing what they take from it. I’m also humbled by – I’ll listen to something of his directly, and think, “not that big a deal”, and then I listen to a reaction of it, and people point out all these things that I missed, and then I realize: whoa, that was very well layered. Stuff about how he’s playing, audio engineering, directing, lighting.
Actually, i found a set of blog posts (paywall-ish) that goes into this in way more detail than i will here: https://bryanwinchell-japan.medium.com/hi-ren-examined-pt-1-the-overview-f0e247e4bd60
I wish him a very .. I don’t know if “bright” is the right word. I think “effective” is the word I want to broadcast for him. I want to see more of his stuff.
Keep getting better, Ren. In all the ways.