ALBUM REVIEW: Ronnie – ‘Songs For My Younger Self’

Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane {The Colourful Writer}

I have always been one to stay in touch with my younger self; my inner child. To be honest, it’s the only way I can get through life as an adult. My childhood and teen years were, for the most part, super happy and good times. Looking at life through the innocent eyes of a child or the ‘I’m too cool for everything’ attitude of a teen is just easier than the jaded notions of adulthood. 

I still sleep with my Care Bear, my favourite colour is pink and I embrace that wholeheartedly, give me pink hair, pastels, rainbows, unicorns and all things cute, pink, glittery and sweet. I mix that with my love of all things dark, goth, medieval, vintage, grunge, rock, metal and boho. What a mix huh. But that’s me, that’s my younger self, mixed with my teen self, mixed with my adult self. Yep. That’s me. 

There’s a local drummer I have loved to watch for many moons. He’s always there in his leopard beanie (the ones with the actual animal face/head, not like a leopard print, it’s like an actual animal head on his head – which is awesome), sitting confidently but quietly behind the drums. His quirkiness combined with his raw yet polished talent at his chosen weapon has always appealed to me. Plus there is nothing quite like a Ronnie drum solo mid Baltimore Gun Club set. Yes, I am a fan.

So recently, I found out Ronnie was releasing a solo album. With perfection in album artwork from fellow BGC member, the man on the bass, Anthony (@HrymaArt) who is one of my favourite local artists. If you want a band poster or album art, etc, hit him up ‘cos his art is amazing. Ronnie’s album is entitled ‘Songs For My Younger Self’ and the album art features Ronnie as he is now, handing his younger self an album. This album. The album. ‘Songs For My Younger Self’. What a concept. I love it. 

Imagine sitting down and penning songs to your younger self? There are so many things I would say to my younger self. But the main thing would be: just be you, be yourself, don’t hide who you are because society makes you feel like you should. Follow your dreams, follow your heart, keep writing, keep creating, do the best you can and just BE YOUR GOD DAMN SELF GIRL…oh and don’t call him again, seriously, he’s not into you and he’s not worth your tears, there will be much better guys in your life later, trust me. …Sorry, had a moment there. But let’s get back to Ronnie and his solo album. It’s a pop punk daydream of songs from the heart, from a young heart to an adult heart and it’s equal parts emotive and inspiring. Like a gentle hand of encouragement that you can do this, this adult thing, and also that it’s more than ok to hold on to your younger self too. Stay young at heart and conquer the world in all its craziness. 

The album is clearly heavily influenced by bands like Blink 182, Bowling For Soup, Greenday, NOFX, Weezer and the like. It’s a solid 90’s punk/grunge vibe and I dig it. With Ronnie doing a Dave Grohl by writing all the tracks and playing all the instruments and doing vocals on all tracks, except Please Miss where he enlisted the help of his brother Matthew to help with some of the instruments and Chick In Draynor which he wrote with a friend he met on Twitch, who goes by the name of Sirlixalot. Not happy with just writing and performing pretty much the whole album solo, Ronnie also recorded, mixed and mastered the entire thing at home, though two tracks, Our World and Please Miss were recorded at Griffith University Bachelor Of Popular Music studios on the Gold Coast. Basically it’s a DIY album from start to finish and that is impressive in itself. 

Ronnie tells us a bit about the album inspiration and concept: 

“My goal for the album really was to create songs for my younger self, as the title suggests. When I was younger and first getting into music, pop punk was a big inspiration for me. Especially bands like Blink 182, Bowling For Soup and Green Day. I didn’t branch out from those three in terms of listening, and would play their songs on repeat most nights after school. The album ‘Dude Ranch’ by Blink 182 was always one I would particularly play, I wished there were more songs out there like that, that had the energetic style and comedic elements to the lyrics. So as a young Ronnie, I wished there would be another ‘Dude Ranch’ style album, this is where the idea of the title ‘Songs For My Younger Self’ came from.”

Dogs Lost But Not Forgotten is a stand out for me. It slows things down a little. I always loved a good slower track on a fast paced punk album. A brief reprieve, a moment to breathe, it’s sad but beautiful. Though it rolls into Runescape Destiny with it’s little xylophone entries throughout the track (I imagine it’s a rainbow coloured one, like one I would play as a child, I mean, maybe it’s not, but that’s where my mind goes) and I love this track, far more upbeat than the previous and I feel like the album kicks off here, every track thereafter is an absolute banger and has me grooving around the house in my lockdown gear (leggings, flanno, band shirt and pink work boots, cos why the fuck not, am I right!?) So there’s three songs about Runescape on the album. I am not a gamer, but clearly Ronnie is and I love that he is embracing a pop punk/ gamer ‘nerd’ vibe that goes together like peas and corn. Scrap that, I hate peas and corn together, so that saying doesn’t work for me. How about, goes together like pastel pink and black. Yeah, that’s better. My fave combo of colours. Wait. How am I talking about me again? I think because this album makes me want to. ‘Songs For My Younger Self’ is a personal journey of sorts but it’s also just relatable af and makes me want to write some songs for myself and my younger self too. 

I asked Ronnie to give a brief rundown of some of the songs on the album and I feel instead of me picking them apart, his words are better here.

“Some of the songs from my new album have the humour that I missed hearing in pop punk music, songs like Anime Gf. Which is actually a true story about when I was young, I would wait all day till the end of school to watch Gundam Wing on Cartoon Network, just so that I could see this character called Relina. For some reason I had a massive crush, and looking back at it now I think it’s quite amusing and probably something many Anime lovers could relate to. So I wrote a song about it.

Another song is I Have A Crush On Luna Lovegood and this follows the same kind of humour of being another true story. Innocently going to watch Harry Potter in the cinema, unaware that I was going to be enamoured by this crush of the character Luna Lovegood. I remember getting home and looking at all the Youtube interviews of her and it was just sad really lol. I hope there is another young Ronnie out there somewhere who hears the song and says, ‘that’s a funny, relatable song.’ 

I wanted to add some more emotional songs to make it a more complete album. Dogs Lost But Not Forgotten is the saddest song on the album for me personally, and the most different in terms of genre. It’s about all the dogs I’ve had in the family over the years of life, all the good times I had with them, good memories, but also the bitter sweet of having to say goodbye. The life lessons I’ve learnt from them and being grateful about it. It was a tough one to sing because I found it upsetting, but I am glad this song made the album, it’s one everyone can relate to who has had a pet.”

There is both an innocence and a maturity to this album and the balance results in a well put together series of songs and feelings.

Anytime an artist and/or musician creates, plays, writes, performs, records, releases music, it should be celebrated. But when it’s a solo album dedicated to a persons younger self, I feel it deserves an extra bit of love and appreciation. Do you ever look at someone and imagine them as a child? As their younger selves? As PJ Harvey sings in Good Fortune “And I feel the innocence of a child, Everybody’s got something good to say…” We were all so innocent then. Life and the world makes you hard, takes away the soft. Hold onto that softness. And tune into ‘Songs For My Younger Self’. The world is full of uncertainty right now, so what better than to comfort ourselves with memories, vibes, thoughts and energies from simpler times? Music has always been a healer. It has always had stories to tell. I am grateful to Ronnie for sharing his stories with us.

‘Songs For My Younger Self’ is out now.

“Dude Ranch-esque, Humorous, Nostalgic 90s Pop Punk Vibes”Ronnie

Listen/Purchase HERE

Photo by Trace McLean Photography

Ronnie plays drums in Baltimore Gun Club and RHINO. I highly recommend you check them out too!

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