‘Believe You’ by Reid Devereaux ’25 is only scratching the surface

March 3, 2022, 6:40 p.m.

Believe You,” Reid Devereaux’s ’25 most recent single, is a fun slice of indie pop, packed with clean production and silky-smooth guitar licks. A part of his collaboration with Robert Nicolls under the name “red 33,” the track sees the artists remain comfortable in the domain of popular contemporary sound.

Devereaux wrote to The Daily, explaining that he began strumming the guitar at an early age. His rudimentary playing was honed through the realm of jazz, where he developed a deep knowledge of chords and scales, present in his work even today. He elaborated on this point when he told The Daily “I started taking guitar lessons when I was about 10 years old, and I really fell in love with music as a whole.” His deep knowledge of guitar is made evident through the song’s ever-present and silky-smooth guitar lines, which drive the track forward. The addition of precise, highly produced drums along with hushed vocals help to create a hazy, bedroom pop sound. The influence of contemporary alternative R&B acts like Dev Hynes (also known as Blood Orange) is clearly evident, especially through the warbled guitar effects and drum machine programming.

Some airy production and whimsical guitar countermelodies help to propel the track forward linearly, but “Believe You” mostly keeps to the same amplitude and timbre for its entire runtime. While the song may have a rigid verse/chorus structure (which usually entails incredibly strong dynamic contrast between the two segments), the track mostly retains the same sonic characteristics throughout. However, this is not necessarily a shortcoming, as it allows the track’s more subtle changes to truly stand out. For example, in the moments where the song does adjust dramatically, namely the higher register seen in the chorus and the post-chorus guitar riffage, constitute the most dynamic, standout elements of the song.

Glitchy patterns on a drum machine end the track, leaving the listener with a solid three-minute pop jam ready for virtually any contemporary pop playlist on Spotify (for better or for worse, depending on their point of view). The light, spacious and well written tune will satiate the hunger for quick-fix pop, but for those seeking something more adventurous or experimental, you might be left wanting more depth.

The artwork for this single is particularly emotive, featuring cool blue tones forming a beautiful wave-like motion across the cover. The art pairs quite well with the restrained, laid-back nature of the song itself. Magnificent artwork seems to be a constant for Devereaux’s work, with all of his “Nico Violet” releases also serving as great examples.

Overall, for fans of bedroom pop interested in supporting on-campus artists, you cannot go wrong with Devereaux’s music. While his new single “Believe You” is satisfying in its own right, listeners should check out his upcoming work in “Nico Violet.” In this forthcoming project, Devereaux ventures out of his comfort zone and delivers much more forward-thinking ideas and compositions, including the fantastic and nearly 26-minute long “ab ovo” — an experimental and noisy slice of plunderphonics. 

With contrasts like the one between his work as “red 33” and “Nico Violet,” it becomes evident that Devereaux is a multi-faceted and dynamic artist. From avant-garde, sample-heavy adventures through space and time to simple three-minute pop tunes, it seems Devereaux has tried his hands at a number of varying musical styles. For this reason, it might be worth making that plunge into his deeper catalog to uncover some hidden gems from genres you may prefer. If you are up for the challenge, it is worth the effort. However, for most listeners, “Believe You” is an enjoyable indie pop introduction.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Brandon Rupp '25 is a columnist for the Arts & Life section who served as the Vol. 263 Music Desk Editor. Contact him at rupp 'at' stanford.edu to tell him how much you respect his rigid journalistic integrity (or to send him music to take a look at). He appreciates that you are reading his bio.

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