Aradia’s self-titled album will go a long way toward establishing her as one of modern popular music’s leading lights. The nine songs she includes in this self-titled effort are aimed at providing listeners with a variety of musical experiences instead of misleading them into believing Aradia possesses a limited range. She isn’t here to check off all the expected boxes and send you home a happy camper. She’s betting on her talent that following the sound she hears in her head will pay off with us following her each step of the way and the nine tracks she’s written and recorded for this outing substantiate that self-confidence.
“Slow Yer Roll” shows a canny appreciation for the moment. She could have chosen to come roaring out of her corner with a surging blast of electronic-powered pop, but she feints instead and, arguably, catches us off-guard in the best possible way. “Slow Yet Roll” has a considered pacing and an attention to detail that serves her in good stead for the remainder of this album. It announces her vocal presence in a big way, however, though she never succumbs to a heavy-handed treatment of the song.
The assertive, tightly wound vocal melody for “GAMMA” is one of the album’s highlights. Aradia conjures considerable vocal pyrotechnics from the outset that dovetail well into the musical architecture. It shares the same robust and life-affirming air surrounding several of the songs on Aradia’s self-titled release. “Keep On” is one of the most all-encompassing experiences on the album. She takes a different direction with this song that signals a definitive break from the exclusively pop-framed landscape of the opening tracks. The drumming is the song’s key distinction, but Aradia puts on another vocal masterclass as well.
“Imagine” has a steady escalation that Aradia orchestrates over its four-minute duration. She kicks off the song in a stripped-down fashion and develops it in the same electronic music vein as the album’s first tunes. It’s one of the album’s most uplifting moments, as well, but never strains for effect. One of the most invigorating performances arrives with the late track “All Right” and it’s once again driven by percolating percussion that keeps the song buzzing at an insistent clip.
“The Light” embodies the implications behind its title. It has a fleet-footed musical texture that washes over listeners without ever overwhelming them. It’s likewise one of the tracks that shows off the superb production enhancing this release. Aradia’s self-titled album sounds like it’s bursting out of its skin, full of life, and you can’t deny the intense personality emanating from each of the album’s nine tracks.
It positions Aradia for a tremendous run ahead. She doesn’t show any sort of restraint, her curiosity is boundless, and the music matches her emotive power. This isn’t music that you can be wishy-washy about it – you will either love it or dismiss it. It’s impossible to hate it. There’s no question that Aradia has extensive skills certain to continue growing in the coming years and it will be a pleasure to hear her each step of the way.