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Music Review - `Superman` by Jay Ryan Beretti (lz)

Jay Ryan Beretti -- Superman    (click on image to watch video)

 27 January 2020



On his new album, tellingly titled Superman, Jay Ryan Beretti veers between the extremes of desperation and defiance. Like the superhero referenced in the title, he sometimes has to deal with his own kryptonite, although he makes a valiant attempt to overcome every obstacle. He takes a mostly somber and sobering stance throughout, but his devotion to cause is never in doubt. “I live in my world, a fantasy world,” he sings on the decidedly dispirited “I’m Down. “I don’t need to be the perfect guy.” 

If Beretti sometimes seems plagued with insecurity, he exhorts his lovers regardless. On the title track, he offers a warning to those who look to loftier goals without seeing the reality that’s right before them. His take on Roy Orbison and Glenn Danzig’s “Life Fades Away” seems somewhat fatalistic in its stance — the title being an obvious indication — but given Beretti’s arched approach, it fits the tone of the album overall. Indeed, his delivery sometimes recalls both Orbison and Elvis, the latter’s bluster and bravado sounding especially evident on “Lovers in the Sun,” a full-blown ballad of somewhat stately proportions.

Beretti is clearly a crooner, a singer who effectively blends passion and pathos in equal measure. Not surprisingly, his subjects often revolve around romance, the kinds that are true but often somewhat tattered. The ringing refrain of the aforementioned “Lovers on the Sun” finds considerable contrast to the song that follows, “Hear My Call,” a track in which he pleads with a wandering lover to return to the fold.

“I’m gonna pray the Lord,

Hear my call
I can’t stand it anymore

To Hell I go…”

Indeed, Superman bridges the gap between desire and despair, from the more subdued strains  of “Lovesong” to the dire desperation of “My Life.” All the while, Beretti clearly confronts a sort of swinging pendulum that only intimacy can inspire. He plays up the extremes with a decidedly dramatic flair, taking a knee to the floor, hands clasped in an emotional embrace. This Superman may be a vulnerable sort, but his powers of perseverance are never in doubt.

 Lee Zimmerman


Lee Zimmerman

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