Ben Platt’s “Reverie” is the reality you hope to never escape

Music Review


Molly Smith

Platt is a musician, thoughtfully debuting with ballads from Sing To Me Instead (2019). It discusses romance, mortality, and parental relationships. This was Platt’s first project as an out gay man. The album got its dedicated Netflix special in 2020: Ben Platt Live from Radio City Music Hall.

  A vivid memory of mine stems from August 12, 2021. 11:58 PM. Staring at a Spotify tab on my brother’s laptop. I got to play a two-year-long mental supercut for two minutes. How much a 12-year-old Molly needed Ben Platt’s first album. A 15-year-old Molly was going to love this one.  

  I put knowledge to use during those three years. Music lessons were taken and musical books were read. I learned quite a lot from prior learners. Learning had been motivating me. I was driven to do better as a human. I look back, grinning near that 12-year-old Molly’s ear. 

  This album was going to be a pop selection, what I collected as a hit or miss genre. August 13, 2021. 12:00 AM. Record-breaking silent fan girl screech. My Twitter feed did it, too, why the judgement? Play. The next hour or so is history. But allow me, if you will, to simulate you through that. 

Platt’s History

Platt is a musician, thoughtfully debuting with ballads from Sing To Me Instead (2019). It discusses romance, mortality, and parental relationships. This was Platt’s first project as an out gay man. The album got its dedicated Netflix special in 2020: Ben Platt Live from Radio City Music Hall. 

Here we are in 2021. Music is yearned for more than ever, like time alone. Platt seems to satisfy those good pop cravings with Reverie, his sophomore album. 

Song Division

The musical knowledge sucker in me was quick to love this. Call it Lorde’s 2017 Melodrama pop album, divided itself. Platt’s division is more miscellaneous than chronological, however.

The Galvanized Trio
The Go Fix Yourself Trio
The Mortality Trio
The Hopeless Romantic Duo
The Aging Duo 

Platt has never referenced the division. I merely thought of this as a summarized experience.


The Galvanized Trio 

Platt and his boyfriend Noah Galvin created a home on my Instagram feed, which I’m more than happy about. Galvin seems to have made his second home on Reverie. 

“Happy To Be Sad” touches on their long-distance relationship. The song turns  pessimism into optimism with major chords A, G, and D alongside melancholy lyrics for a listener’s impact. “I’m lucky that we love so good it has to hurt this bad.” Very clever. 

Meanwhile, “Come Back” radiates, as Platt said in a tweet, “A bit of a Stevie Wonder vibe.” It is pleasant to see a timid intro turn into an upbeat tune of wonder. Two lovers run away to pursue happiness. “If we run away to a place like that, we might go and never wanna come back.” 

“Imagine” more so portrays Galvin’s mark on Platt’s life. He explores how integral Galvin has become. With modern pop tones and autotune, lyrics such as “Your eyes give life a new meaning” make the words for Galvin worth the wait. 

The Go Fix Yourself Trio

Almost like Kinky Boots’s pop anthem “The History of Wrong Guys.” Platt is a human and has experience with the wrong guys. Heartbreak that makes the cut for one great pop album. 

“I Wanna Love You But I Don’t” is the other side of a successful friend-zone:  the friend-zoner. Chords such as Csus2, Dm, G, C, and Am allow the song to teeter.“I beg my heart to start to race when I’m kissing you.” The rhymes matched with unhelpful feelings are truly blissful. 

“Leave My Mind” was the song I had to physically stand up to comprehend once finished. It’s master song writing in every meaning of the term. The composition is expressed through modern pop. It’s as if this were MUNA’s 2019 Saves the World. 

The lyrics, however, express awareness of inability to let go. This is where both lyrics and composition impactful contrast. Platt wishes his mind was his own possession at last. “Took everything that’s mind, but didn’t leave that behind. Leave my mind.” The double meaning chilled my spine. 

“Carefully” is a valuable one. Slower, timid guitar strums and occasional violin compose lyrics such as “I can’t stop your stone from rolling in and wrecking things.” He wants to love and be loved, but can’t help the lack of realism. He hopes to be let down as easily as possible. 

The Mortality Trio

I can never hate sounding like this person enough. I must not escape that reality. This trio changed my thought process. 

“King of the World 1” is a string instrumental track about growing and oblivion, coded with multidimensional autotune. This is through comparison of the 1997 classic Titanic. “That’s just youth on the Titanic.” “Spend your afternoons just running, ‘cause you still don’t know what’s coming.” Nothing could  beat the feeling of my baby brother in the other room. 

“King of the World 2” follows the same principles. Switch the game to love. “That’s just love on the Titanic.” “You confuse the flairs for fireworks, now you’re headed for an iceberg.” He was assuming he had found true love, until that crashed down. 

“King of the World 3” is where I say I changed. Try all of the above: but add life. “That’s just life on the Titanic.” Nothing could have prepared me for “When the days all run together, there’s a time stamp on forever.” Nothing. We are all going to sink, so may as well sit back and enjoy the ride. 

The Hopeless Romantic Duo

Too much emotional scatter to be a love song. Not heartbreaking enough. It’s okay to be a hopeless romantic. 

“Dance With You” demonstrates the relation between lyrics and composition in pop. “Is having somebody in your arms as good as it gets for us?” “If I’m gonna dance, I wanna dance with you.” These lyrics follow a heavy modern pop composition, more intense at climaxes. Lyrics about pondering and dancing mixed with varying intensities of pop. Perfect formula. 

“Chasing You” is very special. Alongside pop, the chorus seems to demonstrate the video game PacMan in composition. The old “meep morph” sound. 

As Platt says on Twitter, “Chasing you is about being drawn to people that are unavailable, and being attracted to that (amirite gays)?” Platt, as a fellow gay myself, you are right. “I can’t stop chasing you. Oh, it’s primitive, the way I do.” 

The Aging Duo

This album was written during a global pandemic. Platt had his childhood bedroom handy. Hence this deep dive. 

“Childhood Bedroom” is musically the pop song you hear at parties. It’s just frenzied enough to dance to, yet calmer when dwindling down. “Suddenly I’m dancing in my childhood bedroom” pairs with “Worrying works in mysterious ways.” Amazing alliteration. Adulting is difficult, and naive childhood has its fun. 

“Dark Times” felt like a Target clearance sweater. The album’s only piano ballad takes its time, very loud and powerful. “I’ll see you in the mirror when you’re older. For now, just keep your head up on your shoulder.” I say this to myself every morning. He writes a letter to his past self through coming out and heartbreak. “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” 

Dreaming of Impact 

Platt’s 2021 Reverie album is a game changer. Hopeless romantic, friend-zoner, or Noah Galvin, this pop dream has the place for you. Music is only getting more versatile. As a gay man, Platt provides talent and authenticity. This is the reset we oftentimes crave, and can only hope to see more of.