Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Aaradhna-Sweet Soul Music (2008)


How sweet it is whenever I get to hear a lot of familiar old-school soul classics in a contemporary r&b setting! That is what I got to enjoy for nearly an hour in the early part of my chilly Tuesday spring evening, as I took in my first listen to this amazing r&b soulstress from New Zealand. My sharing of her "Sweet Soul Music" not only fulfills a recent music request, but also served as an awesome reminder that these golden oldies deserve to get sung until the end of time and to never die away. Aaradhna sure made some excellent selections for this fourteen-track collection, astounding me in particular with her ringing renditions of "Natural Woman" (I can totally hear Aretha Franklin, the great 'Queen Of Soul' herself, echoing every memorable word all throughout), MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS' "Heatwave" (I absolutely LOVE her funky remake of this classic, because I'm just a sucker for those girl group pop hits from the 60's/DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES era) and THE JACKSON 5's"I Want You Back"(such a terrific sound on this one, and she really, really shines with her powerful vocals, sounding exactly like vintage Michael until she cools it down with a smoother r&b-style approach to close out the performance). And as with every one of these covers albums I come cross, I encountered another slew of cool surprises. Like the fact that Aaradhna performs the Motown favorite, "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing", with fellow New Zealand artist ADEAZE, who are all-male r&b group whom I became fond of when I discovered them a few years ago. Or like realizing that "Bring It On Home To Me" was already a soul classic, which I first heard by English actor John Alford in a dazzling pop format and assumed was a John Alford original.....until now; her version of the Sam Cooke original should definitely satisfy the older generation with her more slower and convincingly soulful approach. Or like "I Wish It Would Rain", which I too thought was an original when I heard the Danish pop group 4OUR LIKE US performing it on their one and only album released in 1998 called "The Job" (also previously featured on this blog). The 4OUR LIKE US instantly captivated me, and so does Aaradhna's interpretation of it, especially with the gripping acapella piano and her sultry voice grabbing hold of me right from the start. I further marveled at hearing her sing "Betcha By Golly Wow", which is one I personally like because of the dreamy chords and just the whole soothing, romantic flow to the song, and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", which is something fun to really get down and jam to with its funky, upbeat kick perking my pop music-loving senses and the familiar words of ' please don't leave me boy, don't you go ' satisfying my ears. This entire album actually isn't full of covers, though; it sounds like the final track, "Warrior" (and yes, I did think it would be some kind of soul/r&b remake of the 80's hit by Patty Smyth and her band SCANDAL!) is an r&b original intended to be an Aaradhna exclusive. But you will find pure sweetness in any of these fourteen selections, music that listeners of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate:

1. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)?
2. I Want You Back
3. Betcha By Golly Wow
4. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
5. I Wish It Would Rain
6. Bring It On Home To Me
7. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing
8. Let's Get It On
9. Let's Stay Together
10. Natural Woman
11. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
12. Heatwave
13. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
14. Warrior

No comments: