CD REVIEW: Ria - "Alright"
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"sexy & seductive"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Dance Pop, Latin, Soul
Sounds Like: Sade, Expose, Mariah Carey
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Lopsided catalogue, thin rhythm sections & robotic sounding grooves
Miami's own Ria releases her debut CD "Alright" in the Spring of 2010.
The CD kicks things off with “The Real Thing” a sassy intro piece that serves up easy flowing dance grooves, against honey coated vocal layering & catchy chorus from Ria. Track 2 “Anymore” dishes out yet another diva-driven ditty against rich sonic layering, catchy harmonies & well placed vocal accents. This song has an impressive vocal finale at the end. Track 3 “Alright” shifts gears with upbeat melody & lyrical content with & off the hook chorus where Ria lets it all hang out. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of such classic acts Sade, Expose, Mariah Carey.& maybe a splash of Gloria Estefan (Miami Sound Machine). The music itself is an impressive blend of modern dance pop, soul with a Latin aftertaste. Ria’s voice goes down smooth, & is full of flavor, passion, honesty & even vulnerability. Ria definitely knows how to fill the sonic space with her voice & she also brings to the table everything you would expect from an artist within this genre. She's got a spicy look, infectious persona, & strong vocal presence. You will also catch brilliant flashes of bold honesty & a slight aftertaste of vulnerability that can’t be faked. Ria really makes the (singer to listener) connection with all the aforementioned. The songs themselves are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, & signature groove. You will also notice rich layers of electronic instrumentation layered within the music. From passionate ‘Simply Happy” & “Mommas Love” to powerful “I Hate You” to swinging “Queens” this CD pretty much has everything. My personal favorite is by far “Into Me.” On this piece Ria really lets it all hang out with impressive Arabic touches & accents making for a tasty piece of forbidden fruit. Hard hitting “Club Zombie” even has a slam dunk rap performance on it. The CD ends with “Still” a perfect finale statement that strikes the perfect balance between catchy melody, & rhythms against & hooky chorus that stay with you.
It’s safe to say RIa plays it safe & avoids taking any serious risks that would showcase a serious vocal talent. This doesn't mean she doesn't have a good voice overall, but she's not really in the same league as Mariah Carey. At times the production lacks serious musical substance & sounds extremely sonic & synthetic. This is especially true when you listen the rhythms & grooves which sound extremely thin, repetitive, & robotic in nature. The bar is set really high days for these types of "Dace heavy" productions. When you listen to world class dance groove you can see & feel what I'm talking about. More instrumentation is needed to mix things up a bi as wellt. Things like a jazz piano, saxophone, horns, jazz guitar, & percussive elements & accents would greatly increase the overall production value. Some songs are clearly better than others making for a lopsided musical experience.
Overall the debut CD from Ria is a rock solid debut statement. At the end the day RIa knows how to be sexy & seductive, but just venerable enough to really win your heart over. She's doesn't give off any "Tainted Goods" factor, in fact her voice is rather pure & somewhat innocent. She definably brings a lot to the table: her voice, her look, her persona, her youth & yes her personality. Her best songs are clearly the ones that are spicy, seductive & "bring the groove." If Ria just so happens to be a good dancer & can deliver a slam dunk live experience - well this would make her extremely dangerous wouldn't it? So if you like a sonic musical experience that dishes out hypnotic dance grooves, against a honey coated vocal delivery then I highly recommend you jump into this CD head first. I look forward to hearing more material from Ria soon.
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