CD Review: Citizen of Earth / Aradia
Style: Electronic, Rock, Pop, Electronic Dance Music
Reviewed by Randy Radic
Born and raised in New York City, Aradia demonstrated a penchant for music at an early age, taking up the piano when 3-years-old. She mastered the flute, followed by the guitar by the time she was 14. Trained as a classical musician, she decided to give rock n’ roll a try, playing the New York club scene in Some Band.
Later, Aradia hooked up with Wirth Lawson. They moved to Atlanta, where they formed a band called Twelfth Planet, which eventually opened for Muse. Aradia elected to go solo, and re-located to Seattle, where she recently released her full-length album, Citizen of Earth. The album is electronic-rock, analogous to Florence and the Machine and/or Lady Gaga. Aradia’s voice is potent enough and distinctive enough that it may be likened to the crème de la crème of today’s female vocalists without fear of embarrassment.
Citizen of Earth is all Aradia, who sings, plays the synthesizer and piano, programs the drum machine and handles general production; which speaks volumes – both good and bad. For half the album is excellent, while the other half comes across as amateurish and substandard, especially when juxtaposed with the sensational half. It’s almost as if the slipshod songs are just fillers, added to round out the demands of a full album.
“Trouble,” the first track on the album, is arguably the prize, although convincing arguments could be made for either “Today” or “On Fire.” All three tunes fit comfortably in the electronic-rock category. “Trouble” boasts dazzling harmonies and an infectious beat, while “Today” features catchy lyrics, superb phrasing and a captivating, pulsing beat dominated by the extended snare drum. On the third track, “On Fire,” Aradia gets to show off the sheer puissance of her vocal chords, which are delightfully supercharged.
Any of the first three tracks should find a home on the Pop charts, along with “M-Class,” with its hypnotic beat and Aradia’s femme fatale crooning, demonstrating why Odysseus had to be tied to the mast of his ship. The other two winners on the album are “Keep On,” a song that opens poorly with smarmy Oriental plucking, but then settles into a vigorously enthusiastic tempo; and “So Long,” a love song that reminds listeners of Sade.
The remaining five tracks are replete with inane lyrics, unwieldy beats and anemic arrangements. They are unimpressive and calcified.
Despite the enervated tracks, Citizen of Earth is a wonderful album, with six dazzling tracks. Aradia’s voice reflects an overpowering resonance that diminishes the album’s weaknesses to mere afterthoughts.
Check out the video for On Fire–