Ryan Van Dordrecht New Album ‘Undone’ Release Date January 5th, 2024

Ryan Van Dordrecht explains his new album’s title as “the kind of thing that happens in your personal and creative lives when you stop trying to control everything.” He further elaborates, “I had to come to a new level of maturity to make this record.” Indeed, attempting to control everything and everyone is not only immature, but it’s impossible. It’s also very egotistical to even think one can be in control – of almost anything. Complete control of life is an illusion, and deep down in our heart of hearts we know it. This mature effort reflects its mature creator perfectly.

The album closes with its title track, “Undone.” It has the feel of a contemporary soul song, especially due to the track’s organ fills and female backing vocal. Adding to its soulfulness, Van Dordrecht even refers to Motown music in its lyric. “Human Nature” hits even closer to the bone, as it speaks to human behavior, which is not always the best behavior. It has a bit of Tom Petty (especially Benmont Tench keyboard) running through its arrangement. Van Dordrecht is at his most gut level honest with “Hurts Like Hell.” It’s a song that pulls no punches. Yes, we try to mask our pain as much as possible. But in this instance, Van Dordrecht can’t hide it any longer. The track is softened just a bit with a saxophone part running through it. Still, Van Dordrecht sounds sadder than sad singing it.

The album’s most enjoyable song comes along about midway through. Titled “Be Your Lover,” it begins with a trumpet intro, which gives it a bit of a south of the border feel. It also rolls to an acoustic guitar-driven Mexican music feel. It’s sexy and romantic, exactly as a song with a title like “Be Your Lover” should be. Van Dordrecht sings it with a lustful longing in his voice. The song also includes a steamy electric guitar solo at the end.

Van Dordrecht gets a little folky with “Under the Neon Glow,” which mixes more soulful organ with strummy guitar. Van Dordrecht sings it in a nostalgic, wistful voice. It’s the sort of song that brings out the reflective side of Van Dordrecht’s musical personality. Just the words “neon glow” paint a vivid mental picture. We usually point to being under nature’s light, as with the sun or the moon, when creating a memorable setting. Neon is an unnatural, manmade light source. Yet, it seems to have had the same magical affect on Van Dordrecht, the way usually only the sun and the moon can.

Although Ryan Van Dordrecht delves deeply into many different human emotions on this album, it doesn’t feel overwrought or overly psychological. Instead, many of the feelings he expresses though these songs are relatable for us all. We’ve all hurt like hell, as one song puts it, and have burned with desire for someone the same way Van Dordrecht does during “Be Your Lover.” The ability to speak as honestly as Van Dordrecht does on this album reveals the kind of maturity he was hoping to express. He aimed high, and squarely hit the mark.


-Dan MacIntosh