The magic of RILEY THE MUSICIAN – and more specifically, his most recent project Ana Kennedy – is twofold: relatable and aspirational. As most great and therefore, lasting music tends to do, Riley’s new, 7-track project not only possesses the sonic intimacy to speak eye-to-eye with its listener, but also offers enough emotional complexity to create a sense of shared aspiration between the two (artist and listener).
They’re not spoon-fed and they’re not always explicit, but these intangible qualities shine through in more detailed parts of the project’s fabric: the warmth in the melodies of “Nineteen,” the in-the-moment charm of “Railroad,” and even the transparency in the project’s rollout, specifically shown through this “making of ‘Nineteen'” TikTok. Riley’s art is just as much a reflection of his own thoughts and experiences as it is a mirror for listeners to look through, and as such, it feels less like listening to a distant figure make sounds and more like listening to a friend share stories, thoughts, and emotions.
This comfortability is the basis of the project’s appeal, while the sense of “aspiration” is created largely through its sound; bright, vast (I hope this makes sense), and more than anything, affirming.
Ana Kennedy packs a whole lot of life into 21 minutes of sound, and considering that a bunch of words trying to capture this will only take us so far, it’s well worth the listen. 7 tracks in length, Riley’s latest feels full, it feels excited, and it feels like an extension of life; all of which we’ve come to expect from the ever-promising musician as he continues to make his dent in the world.
Listen to Ana Kennedy below and revisit our piece on “Nineteen” here!