Entertainment & Media

Montgomery Ricky by Ricky Montgomery

By Eva Grace Martinez

Volume 1 Issue 3

December 16, 2020

Montgomery Ricky by Ricky Montgomery

Original image by Ricky Montgomery

Ricky Montgomery, a 27-year-old born in Los Angeles, California, was best described prior to 2020 as a little eclectic but full of good sound and creative merit. Prior to his fame on TikTok, he was also successful on Vine, leading to online support for his 2014 debut EP Caught On The Moon. However, the EP failed to draw mainstream attention leaving him relatively underground until years later. His 2016 full length release Montgomery Ricky made waves amongst his own fanbase and drew in a few more to ride the Ricky Montgomery wave, yet he would not reach anything close to his current level of notoriety until the massive success of some of his songs as TikTok sounds.


These will be track-by-track reviews, with each track scoring points for factors such as musicality, lyrical content, continuity (how well each track fits into the rest of the album), and theme. Each track will receive a score out of 10, and then be added up to create the final score for the album. Let’s begin with Track One:

 
This December 

I’m alright if you’re alright, I’m okay if you’re okay” takes us into the hook of this deceptively cheerful song about finding yourself and accepting that you’re lost.  Lyrically it tells the story of someone struggling to find happiness in darker times, and, through a loved one, is finding more happiness than they had ever thought possible. As an opening track, it is supposed to establish several themes, either musical or lyrical, of the overall album. However, many of them are hidden behind the bright combination of electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and keyboard that allows the audience to get lost in its soundscape; it was only on repeated listens that I finally began to see the overall themes of this album fully displayed in the track.


Score: 7/10 - A cheerful opener with a fun instrumental; however, it fails to successfully introduce the rest of the album.


Line Without a Hook

Have you ever known someone completely and totally out of your league? Yeah, this song does, too. Here our singer watches as a crush falls into the lake of their own self-doubt, but not before comparing his own doubt to theirs, with “you’re a pond and I’m an ocean.” To the singer, his crush removes all negativity from the world around them. Yet their love interest is doubting themself, forcing our singer to feel that they are even worse in comparison. This track is an emotional standout on the album. It starts the process of “losing yourself” as described in This December, and beautifully pulls together motifs of drowning and feeling incomplete with the end of the bridge and the final chorus by quite literally leaving the last line of the bridge incomplete, and exclaiming that he would pull his lover from the tide of their own emotions if he knew how. Musically this track adds another layer to the usual drums, bass guitar, guitar, and piano ensemble with the addition of a violin, a motif which will show up in later tracks surrounding love.


Score: 8.5/10 - Beautiful story and lyrics, fits well into the album as a whole and performance is emotional; however, the emotional buildup pales in comparison to others on this album.


Cabo 

Returning to the cheerful sounds of the opening track, Cabo tells us the story of two people just falling for each other but can’t tell the world yet. Secret garden meetups and dancing on beaches when no one’s looking fill the bright tone of the lyrics supported by the bright instrumentation. The bouncy rhythm lends itself to nervous heartbeats, and the up-tempo guitar and synth add life, making this song utterly danceable and incredibly fun to listen to. It also might be the catchiest song on the whole album, so once you play it once, prepare to be humming along to it all day. This track does feel a little disjointed from the past songs musically; however, lyrically, it may be the singer’s attempt to love again after the failed relationship in the previous song.


Score: 7.5/10 - A blast to dance to and utterly enjoyable, but if it fit better into the album it would most likely have scored higher.


Don't Know How 

Montgomery faces a large amount of insecurity throughout this album - he doesn’t know who he is or where he is going - much less if he deserves to be loved. However, his track takes these insecurities and changes them into something new. Instead of not knowing if he can love, he now worries about how he loves. Is what he’s doing good enough? He doesn’t know how to make the other love him more and that thought leaves him fraught with insecurity. The almost club-like mix sound really sells the fact that his insecurities here are masked by a cool persona of outward confidence. Instead of hiding in his home, he’s gone out to dance, but sadly, he can’t seem to take his mask off. The thrumming bass and casual guitar riffs combined with small amounts of synth would make this the perfect song to dance to: if not for the fact that the mixing leaves it sounding very removed as if our singer is in the bathroom trying to hype himself up.


Score: 6/10 - Fun to listen to with an interesting meaning however is easily one of the more skippable songs in terms of the overall album.


Last Night 

Last night opens with a guitar intro reminiscent of Paramore, then immediately slams you with lyrics about learning who you are and exactly where you come from. Montgomery gets to show off his vocal ability here, not through challenging high notes, but through the sheer amount of emotion he is able to place into this track. Each “woah” sounds perfect for an anthemic call and response, and the heavy guitar and drums add to the overall experience. This song is not the most lyrically impactful, but that’s why it works so well. It shines here for the performability, and just how well it works its way into the shuffle. Unlike other songs off this album, its reliance on instrumentation is a strength and not a weakness that is glaringly obvious when played back-to-back.


Score: 8/10 - This song is a cheerful romp through all Montgomery’s artistic talents. Although it is not the most important in terms of story, its ability to draw a crowd in makes up for its overall simplicity.


California 

Craving success and allowing your ego to grow just to maybe make a name for yourself? Sounds like every starving artist’s dream to me. This song is all about wanting to be known, but also knowing that you don’t know how much of yourself you’d have to give up to get that chance. Here Montgomery asserts that art is dead, and the artists have blood on their hands. Is it worth selling your soul for a chance at a glitzy lifestyle? Neither I nor the singer have the answer. However, I think that the instrumentation on this one is worth dying for, the energetic guitar parts mirrored with a lively piano part and drums ready to pull you to the middle of a dancefloor are what sell me on this song.


Score: 9/10 - Maybe my love for this song is all smoke and mirrors, but according to Montgomery, so is everything else.


My Heart is Buried in Venice 

Breaking the established theme of the album, My Heart is Buried in Venice is a slow, stripped-down song about growing old and loving someone even when they make mistakes. Only containing an acoustic guitar and drums, the instrumentation allows this song to feel wistful and winding, as if the singer is walking through old streets and has nowhere better to be. At first the song seems like this happy tone is all the song contains, but as the lyrics progress, the story sours ever so slightly; again our singer feels insecure about how much his partner loves him. He is fully prepared to take the blame for his lover’s mistakes, yet it seems that he is too busy drowning in his own thoughts despite the beautiful people and places around him.  Although it is much slower than the previous track, it almost feels this is the result of California, a love that was in the spotlight becomes calm and quiet when the lights go off, making you wonder if it was ever really real at all.


Score: 8.5/10 - Peaceful and calm, following the bright and cheery California it is a change of pace, but not an unwelcome one.


Mr. Loverman 

Okay everyone: this is the song you have been waiting for. This is the Tiktok sound that has taken over the minds of singers and instrumentalists alike. The chorus is well known: “Cause I’m Mr. Loverman, and I miss my Lover man.” However, the intricacies and buildup in this song are truly what make it a masterpiece, not just a popular 15-second soundbite. A broken lover, dry and tired eyes, and shaky hands are our intro to the world of Mr. Loverman, and by the time you exit, you’ll be wishing your eyes were dry. Lyrically we’re fed the story of a man who doesn’t seem to know how to go on in the wake of a heartbreak. Lost between worlds of inebriated apathy and tearful reminiscing, our singer painfully recounts just how much he misses the person he once loved. Although lyrically poignant, what really sells me on this song is the musical build up. Its slow rising crashes like a wave over Montgomery’s calm vocals creating emotional dissonance to tug at your heart strings. The only real detractor from this lovely song is the instrumentation; I would have loved to see a new addition to the competitively simpler instrumentals on this song.


Score 9.5/10 - Well-deserving of the praise, amazing vocals and lyrical patterns; however, I’m left craving an addition to the soundscape.


Get Used to It 

Honestly, this is the most forgettable song on this album. Although its lyrics are not generic, they fail to garner attention. Its opening feels clumsy and its self-referential nature fails to allow the song to stand out, which would have given it some redeeming value. The lack of changes in the vocal and instrumental style feel repetitive at this point. If Mr. Loverman is the album’s high, Get Used to It is by far the lowest of the lows. Anything this song does well is displayed elsewhere on the album, and it really has no witty lyrics or great emotional story to make it stand out. If you crave a guitar part that makes you want to air guitar like the best of them, listen to California. If you want a cheerful melody, try Cabo on for size, and if youre craving some sad lyrics to go along with that up-beat feeling, go give Last Night a try. I love this album and a lot of the work Ricky Montgomery has done, but this is one song I won’t even give the time of day.


Score: 2/10 - Really, they can’t all be winners.


Snow

This album begins in December and ends in a snowy winter, presumably a year after the opening track. This is a homecoming for our lead singer: he has finally moved on from pining over a lost love, and now he can see with a bit of clarity. The relationships detailed throughout were all unhealthy in their own ways; Cabo and California detail saccharine sweet relationships, burning bright and fading fast, never really meant to last. Last Night is begging for someone to notice, and Line Without a Hook wonders if the singer was even worth noticing. Don’t Know How and Get Used to It are chock full of insecurity and doubt in the singer’s own stability. This December places too much of the lead’s emotional wellness on another, My Heart is Buried in Venice easily is wishful thinking at the start of a relationship. Mr. Loverman is the downfall of one or many of these relationships. Snow, however, is a moment’s clarity in Montgomery’s mind. The skeletons have left the closet and now they hang on his mirror; he is able to recognize the toxicity that has followed him through this year, and he is finally able to return home, not just from galivanting across the world, but from the mountains and valleys of this year’s worth of emotion. Although it may seem like nothing special and is not a standout musically or lyrically in comparison to others, this song does enough to propel the album to the top of my list.


Score: 10/10 - Simply astounding in the layers of meaning, made even more significant by the easy-to-follow lyrics and instrumentation.


Final Thoughts:

This album is a fun way to pass 36 minutes and has a song for almost any event in your life. It is not by any means a perfect album, and there are better (and worse) albums out there. However, this album is still very good! If you enjoy Cavetown or Conan Gray, I would recommend you take a listen. Even if you don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of these songs charms their way into your heart. Overall score: 76/100