Thursday, October 20, 2016

AJA-Aja (2003)


Aha—AJA at last! Well, at least for me, as I finally got the chance to listen in to the sisters otherwise known as Andrea Anderson and Jame Anderson. Their self-titled album had been a long-standing request here at "The Music Spectrum"—so long, that I'd nearly forgotten how I came to know about the sisters in the first place! The guru over at the "Dance Love Pop" blog surely had to have been responsible, as AJA was among the pop goodies previously showcased there. Though as they're still on hiatus as of today's date, I thought I would help fulfill the wishes of long-time "Dance Love Pop" fans and the rest of the popular music world by presenting a showcase of my own, despite the fact that this AJA duo remains a virtual mystery to me in regards to their music background. I can at least say this—contemporary r&b artist Mario Winans of the iconic musical Winans Family is one of the producers on this album, and it's his voice that pays a very respectful tribute to the AJA sisters in the introductory movement to the opening track, "Movin' On". Right away, the sisters establish themselves as bonafide r&b singers with their sultry, crisp and mature voices that totally sound like they were tailor-made for contemporary r&b, delivering the sharp message that they're not havin' it anymore—the back-and-forth games played with love—while a big-time r&b bounce serves as the song's driving beat. It's that same killer combination of hip-smart lyrics and bumpin' beats that give I-like-the-way-you-work-it-in-the-club jams like "Shake It Baby" and "(Make It Hot) Hotter" their simmering sizzle and turns tunes like "He's All Mine" and "Shy" into playful pleasures. When the AJA sisters mellow out some, though, is where I find them especially alluring. The one simply titled "Sunshine" really does make me feel all sunny inside, loving especially the funky electronic arrangement playing in the background of the smooth groove and the slick way their collective soulful voices slide on the 'shine' voiced in the main chorus. The interlude to "Missing You" just may be the best part about the two-part track performed for 7+ minutes midway through the album, the natural outdoor ambiance setting the mood for some moments of sweet tenderness. And I've heard many songs over the years whose theme is friendship, but the lovely piece serving as this album's concluding track is especially captivating, as my music senses took in the graceful flow of the throwback old-school groove, the saddening tonality and even the smallest of sweet nuances that includes the sisters' vocal harmony when they sing 'friend until the very end' at a later point during the song. Definitely puts a warming glow on my near-hour-long listening journey with them, perhaps even filling me up with more sunshine than that which radiated from the sparkling gem eight tracks before it:

1. Movin' On
2. Shake It Baby
3. Mmm Yeah (With You)
4. He's All Mine
5. Sunshine
6. Missing You (Interlude)
7. Missing You
8. Shy
9. I Know
10. On And On
11. (Make It Hot) Hotter
12. The Heartbreak
13. Friends

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