Over the past few years, Ben Platt has become one of the most successful and celebrated Broadway performers in recent memory. If you’ve ever seen him perform live, it’s not difficult to understand why. With a clear, powerful belt; chill-inducing falsetto; vibrato that can cut like a knife; impeccable vocal technique and a range that seems to transcend the limits of human capability, Ben Platt has all the tools of a contemporary vocal powerhouse at his disposal.
Best known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the titular character in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen and as the adorkable Benji Applebaum in the 2012 hit movie Pitch Perfect, Platt has seen success on the stage and on the screen, even earning himself a spot among TIME’s most influential people of 2017. Past triumphs aside, however, Platt will dip his toe into something a little bit different in 2019 with the release of his debut solo album Sing to Me Instead.
The album, set for March 29, is being released under industry top-dog Atlantic Records, the label behind such A-list artists as Cardi-B, Ed Sheeran and Sia. On Friday, February 1, two tracks from Platt’s album, “Bad Habit” and “Ease My Mind,” were released as well as an accompanying music video for “Bad Habit.”
Simply put, the two tracks did not disappoint. “Bad Habit,” a power ballad about being continuously drawn back into a toxic relationship due to loneliness and longing, builds brilliantly. The beginning of the song is relatively simple musically, allowing the track to bloom into a powerful emotional climax that expertly showcases Platt’s incredible vocal chops.
The subject matter of “Bad Habit” allows for the dramatic edge inherent in a tormented account of a tumultuous relationship, but on the other side of the coin is the feel-good number “Ease My Mind.” Whereas “Bad Habit” focuses heavily on the turbulence of an imperfect, though passionate relationship, “Ease My Mind” poses a narrative more centered on a dependable partner helping one through a hard time.
Through lyrics such as “I can feel my sanity start to unwind” and references to “lonely thoughts” that “pull [him] under,” Platt suggests a struggle with mental health issues, his own battle with anxiety being something he has spoken out about before. However, in saying “darling, only you can ease my mind,” he is suggesting that these issues can be managed through the love and trust of a healthy relationship.
Although “Bad Habit” is catchy and more likely to be commercially successful, both tracks are emotionally potent and effective at conveying the message behind the music, brewing high hopes for the impending release of the album. Although the songs are very different in terms of subject matter, the stylistic and tonal similarities do pose slight concern. Both of the songs are piano-driven ballads that are similarly paced, and though individually each song shines, together they easily blend into one another. Hopefully, the full album will showcase a wider variety of styles, as Platt has proven himself to be a capable performer that is anything but a one-trick pony. Whether it be on screen, on your favorite musical soundtrack, or live at the Tony and Grammy Awards, Platt’s voice has wooed the hearts of thousands, and it is only fitting that he is now finally getting to sing some songs of his own.
Featured Image via Ben Platt’s Instagram