Track Review: Ariana & The Rose- In Your Bed

TRACK REVIEW:

 

 

 

Ariana & The Rose

Photo: Julian Marshall

In Your Bed

 

9.4/10.0

 

 

The track, In Your Bed is available via:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKVd1MpcB6A

The E.P., Head vs. Heart is available from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-vs-heart-ep/id798771825?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

RELEASE DATE: 23 MARCH, 2014

TRACK LISTING

1) In Your Bed

2) Heartbeat

3) Hollow

4) Love Me, Hate Me

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S.A.

Released: 23 March 2014 ℗ 2014 Pookiebird, LLC

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This New York-based artist is currently wooing crowds across the U.K.; determined to take her music as far and wide as possible. With an E.P. that has already set critical tongues into overdrive, this eager talent’s striking music is amongst the most memorable and impressive around.

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IT has been investigating the music scene of L.A. recently, but for today….

I travel across the U.S.- and to New York. Whereas Los Angeles has a bustling and diverse music scene, New York may pip the Californian hotspot, when it comes to sheer range and multitudinous. L.A. boasts some stunning and character-filled neighbourhoods and alleyways; treasures can be found across the city, and there is plenty of music for everyone- all tastes are catered for. If you favour Hip Hop flavours or are akin to the majesties of Rock or Indie, there are bands and artists whom can tantalize. Similarly, if you prefer sunnier Pop and Soul movements, then there is going to be plenty to wet your appetite. In the U.S. there seems to be a multi-party civil war occurring; debate is raging with regards to which city/state provides the best music- the greatest amount of diversity and quality. Historically, the likes of Detroit and Seattle have always been at the forefront, yet for my money, New York is making waves to claim the crown. In the same way that L.A. (and California) is attracting a host of migrants and foreign musicians; each keen to soak up the atmosphere and influence of the city, New York is drawing in some terrific artists. Before I look into them (and the best that N.Y.C. is promoting), it is worth considering just how many genres of music are being played in New York; just how much one can experience and witness. Areas such as Greenwich Village offer new and spectacular acts; the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan played here in the ’60s, and many great and fervent artists ply their trade and wow local audiences. Salsa, Hip Hop and Dance music are burgeoning and thriving scenes, but over the last few years, other genres have been making their voices known. Over the last couple of decades, New York has been a natural home for Proto Punk and No Wave acts such as Band of Susans and Sonic Youth- it was a short-lived movement but lead to greater things. The hardcore Punk and Heavy Metal scene that fostered the likes of Heart Attack, Murphy’s Law and Mortician are going strong; providing platforms for urgent and hard young bands. It is perhaps Indie Rock that has put New York on the map, or at least given the world some tremendous bands. Legends such as The Strokes, The Bravery and Yeah Yeah Yeahs; but in more recent years acts such as LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear and The Drums have made their mark. It is not just native talent ensuring that New York remains at the precipice of modern music. Bands including The National, MGMT, Yeasayer and Matt and Kim have added to the majesty of The Big Apple. It is great to look back on the wonderful musicians whom call New York their home; the scenes and genres that are widespread and itinerant- but there are some terrific embryonic acts coming through. The 30-year-old Brooklyn-based heroine Diane Birch has been compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Prince (the latter actually invited Birch back to his house to jam); her voice and music mesmerised fans and critics across her sophomore L.P., Speak a Little Louder. Brooklyn dwellers Drowners are invoking the wonder of ‘Britpop’; mixing Suede and Blur- as well as fusing Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. Betty Who (born in Australia) infuses catchy melodies and insatiable choruses, wowing New York crowds, she is set to be one of the biggest names in music over the next few years. What I have noticed is that there seems to be a dominance of band music. St. Lucia’s Glam-Synth hooks are filled with exuberance and glee; and amongst the best Electronic music anywhere in the world. You have Punk rockers Cerebral Ballzy; Indie Pop’s Friends- as well as Rock-Synth-Pop hybrid masters Little Daylight. If you prefer your New York music band-based then you have plenty on offer; all sorts of styles and colours are ready to be experienced- yet there are plenty of stunning singletons. As much as I love the likes of Chairlift and their ilk, one yearns to hear someone a bit different- music that features on a single voice or personality. Smoky and minimalist R ‘n’ B stylings are the order of the day for the stunning Tei Shi; someone whom can make a track grow on you; its anatomy, evolution and development can be heard as the seconds progress- it is music that demands close attention. San Fermin mixes the emotional lustre of Adele and Amy Winehouse, yet delves deeper for subject matter; mingling baroque beauty with modern-day frustrations. Although these examples are backed by other bodies, the focus is very much on the lead; that single voice that comes through in every song. Whereas L.A. is promising a wealth of vibrant and multitudinous duos, New York still has the lead when it comes to the best bands (in the U.S.). I am sure that there are plenty of great solo acts in New York; those whom take on music completely alone (sans corroboration), yet it seems that it is a minority genre. My featured act today has a tremendous singular talent, yet is someone whom is supported by other musicians; those whom add to her sound- and support her glorious tones. In the U.K. we have a lot of solo acts, and their numbers grow by the week; I am not sure why New York favours kinship and musical comradery more, but it is something that has been rattling around my mind. I guess bands such as The Strokes and The National have inspired new musicians to do likewise; recruit warm bodies and ensure that there is strength in numbers. New York may get a bad rap as being a bit cold and disconnected when it comes to interaction; there is this impression that no one talks to anyone, and rudeness and detachment are favourite past times. This is simply untrue (and is something London is accused of); big cities and regions are always going to have a certain sense of hurry and anxiety to them, but Ney York offers plenty of warmth and wonder; fashion and passion- as well as friendliness and cohabitation. There is  openness and warmth present that is seeping into music; new musicians are keen to collaborate and merge with one another- rather than go out alone. I have featured Ariana & The Rose today for two reasons, which I shall explain now. One of the things I notice about London music (as well as U.S. styling) is that there are few terrific female-lead acts/groups. Over here we have some wonderful solo artists such as Alison Levi and Emily Kay (whom I have often mentioned in these pages), but in terms of brand-new music, there are few bold female voices. It may be an over-exaggeration, but I still hear too many all-male acts; there are all-female bands (as well as mixed gender examples) but in terms of that single female voice- there are few that spring to mind. In Yorkshire and the north there are a fair few, yet down in London there is a scarcity it seems- and this seems to be an issue in the U.S. as well. The likes of Caitlin Rose are amongst the finest American voices of the moment, but I would love to hear more examples like her. I adore the music made by bands and all-male acts, but I crave difference; something with a different personality; a new direction and philosophy- something fresh and enlivening, essentially. One of my biggest goals and desires for the rest of this year, is to uncover the best and brightest female voices out there; those which get under the skin- and whose providers get inside your soul. Before I introduce you to my subject (and neatly tie all my musical strands together), I will mention two more points: style and personality. These may seem like odd terms to introduce into a music review, and that may be because these are facets lacking (from music). I have met and been introduced to some lovely and warm musicians, along my travels, but when it comes to the rest of the market, things are a bit hit-and-miss. One of things I look for in great new music (as well as terrific songs and sounds) is a compelling figurehead; someone you can not only relate to, but also be inspired by. I have witnessed quite a few U.K.-based acts whom I stay in touch with; are down-to-earth and as likeable as they come- yet I find that too many new musicians do not project this; possess a rather stale and distant personality. It is true that the music is the most important aspect of any new artist, but if its creator(s) come across as aloof and boring, then few eyes are going to remain fixated. Just like a date or friend, personality and dependability are more important than outer layers and ‘looks’. The acts whom are going to remain in the public consciousness, are not only those whom dare to be different bold, but connect with fans- and project a warm and relatable personality. Music is about connecting with people and vote-winning; electioneering with multiple mandates and pillars; making sure that the public not only are compelled by the music on offer- but are drawn in by the human(s) making it. I shall go into more depth a bit later, but will conclude this paragraph by mentioning style- in terms of online fashion as well as personal style. A great deal of new musicians are so hell-bent on getting their sound and essence just so, that they negate a key fundamental: an eye-catching outer. I have said that personality is a paramount consideration, yet the music-buyer wants something to catch the eye as well; an act whom not only enliven the ear, but stir the senses too. I find that a lot of bands come across as rather stagnant and one-dimensional. Sure, the music can be stunning and inspiring, but when it comes to the men and women behind the music, they come across as pedestrian and dull. I am not suggesting that every new musician has to be as extroverted and striking as Lady Gaga, but a lot of ground can be covered by considering a few important points. In relation to fashion and style, something a bit different and sexy can go a long way; a sense of allure and difference does not detract from the business of music- it can augment it. This is something that is not just reserved for female artists, but us chaps can take note. If you look back at some of the greatest bands and solo artists of all time, each of them possessed a certain flair and sense of stylishness. Maybe some of Pop’s modern idols have scared new artists off from trying to be fashionable or stylish (the bold colours and geometry as well as controversial exhibitionism has put many into disrepute), but you do not have to go overboard. If you apply this parable to my examples of love and romance, you are going to capture more hearts and minds if you put some consideration into your wardrobe. Aside from clothing and presentation, online fashion is something that is being given little consideration. It is one of my biggest and more favourite rants, but too many new musician expend little time with regards their online pages. I have come across too many acts with only a Facebook and Twitter page- and do not have an official site. Those that do have an official site often miss out key information (biography, links to reviews, photos etc.), simply using it as a portal to their social media sites- an intermediary as it were. In this age it is not good enough to rely on Twitter and Facebook; these sites are vital when it comes to connecting with fans, but they strike me as a little hollow and impersonal. As well as not being the most in-depth and well designed sites on offer, they give little insight into the musician- what makes them tick etc. Official websites give the artist an opportunity to employ their own colour scheme and designs; put in as many photos and personal titbits as possible- and ensure that a great degree of relevant information is incorporated too. The most worthy and hard-working artists understand this importance, and go to great lengths to ensure that they have a brilliantly original and eye-catching personal site (as well as a comprehensive social media output). My featured act not only is amongst the most stunning and original female voices of the moment, but is someone whom projects style and panache; lets fans into her world, as well as ensures that her online sites draw in new listeners- and keep the hungry listener informed and compelled.

Before I introduce the woman behind Ariana & The Rose, I will tread on some dangerous quicksand. The mind and thoughts should never dwell too long and hard on looks and outer shell (and neglect the person behind the beauty) but you cannot help but ignore how stunning and captivating our heroine is. As well as possessing earth-shattering beauty, she is also one stylish and fashionable musicians on the current scene. As well as being a former actor, our heroine is familiar with the catwalks and the best that New York fashion has to offer. Mix a beguiling natural beauty with a keen eye for fashion and style, and you have an artist whom compels you to remember her; ensure that you do not forget anything about her. Before I stray into murky waters (sexism for one), I will clarify my point by mentioning that the music that Ariana & The Rose offers up is the biggest selling point- that which has been exciting crowds and fans throughout the world. Before I go into more depth about our heroine (and her moniker) I shall provide some personal information (gleamed from The Guardian).

DiLorenzo, a 24-year-old from Long Island originally, is a singing keyboardist, with one foot in the fashion camp – although not as camp as Gaga – who actually performed at the after-party for the Born This Way Ball, and who has a similarly broad, half-rock, half-cabaret showtunes background as Gaga’s. She learned to dance ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop from an early age, joined Manhattan’s Synthesis Dance Project at 12, was a Musical Theater major at the Professional Performing Arts School in her mid-teens while in free moments doing various voice-overs, jingles, commercials and walk-on parts on the likes of the Sopranos. She studied Journalism at the Tisch School of the Arts – the same one as Gaga – and did unpaid work at a casting agency before turning 20 and putting out her first record, a dance track called Beautiful.”

At the moment, DiLorenzo is in the U.K.; taking Ariana & The Rose across the country, and ensuring that as many Brits as possible fall in love and are captured and overwhelmed by the music. DiLorenzo herself spends a lot of time between New York and London- it seems that the U.K. is a second-home for our heroine. Her formative years have been busy and diverse indeed; our heroine never intended to follow a career in music and record- it just sort of fell into place. When speaking with Songwritingmagazine.co.uk, this curious and fascinating back-story was given tender investigation:

She hadn’t pursued the idea of writing pop music professionally: “I was only writing songs for fun at that time, which I think helped cultivate a relationship with my own music. I could be super-personal, because for so long I didn’t share it with people.”… But, after studying at NYU’s famous Tisch School of the Arts (whose notable alumni include Lady Gaga), Ariana began working with music producers and, at the age of 21, was inspired to pursue a career as a songwriter. She would end up writing toplines and demos for other singers for “everything from hip-hop to dance,” and, although she didn’t realise it at the time, was effectively in training, “I was learning how to be in the studio and work with other writers.”… More recently, with concert pianist Vera Tisheff as her mentor, Ariana has been able to cultivate her own sound and style, and was encouraged by Tisheff to study opera and classical composition. “We went back to basics with composers like Vivaldi and Bellini,” explains Ariana, “I still write pop music, but it influences how you structure songs and look at chord progressions and inversions.”… Asked about her true musical heroes, she unsurprisingly reveals a lot more pop: “I love Alanis Morrissette, for her honesty in her writing; Robyn and Kylie – people have been able to reinvent themselves in a current way. I love synth music, so it’s fun to apply a more traditionalist look at songwriting to electronic music.”… Ariana & The Rose is still very much based in New York, but they’re regularly found hopping from city to city; recently co-writing in LA, off to Sweden for another writing session, and now the UK’s capital is becoming a favourite destination… “I’m here every six weeks or so – I feel like I’m cheating on New York with London! We’ve played London Fashion Week and a Breakout showcase for Music Week.”

It is great that Ariana & The Rose are in the U.K., as it not only gives a chance for us here to witness one of the greatest acts coming out of New York- but means that the music press and publications here promote and proffer Ariana & The Rose’s unique sounds. At the moment, the press attention is split between the U.S. and the U.K., but I am sure that our heroine has her eyes cast to other international quarters. As well as Europe, Australia and Asia will be continents desperate to survey and digest Ariana & The Rose’s music in the flesh- it is something that our heroine should consider. Before music became a consideration for DiLorenzo, acting was very much a passion; she even appeared in The Sopranos. When speaking with Harper’s Bazzar (online) in April, she explained:

Yes, I’m in it for maybe 11 seconds. And I remember my mom couldn’t see, so James Gandolfini put her in front of the monitor so she could see me in all my glory. She was the proudest woman in the world. I come from a really Italian family so—to this day–I can sell out an arena, and my family will never care about what I do as much as being on that show. It was like I won the lottery. I brought honor to my family.”

At the moment, music is very much fuelling and inspiring our heroine, and the release of the Head vs. Heart E.P. has seen Ariana & The Rose put under the spotlight- and met with critical acclaim. If you are thinking that we are witnessing an American version of Florence and the Machine, then you can think again. It is true that both have stunning and powerful female leads; each act is backed by supple and talented musicians, yet Ariana’s Rose is a different kettle of fish than Florence’s Machine. Florence Welch’s music is Indie Rock and mixes Neo Soul with R ‘n’ B- whereas Ariana & The Rose is more bare but no less potent and powerful. When it comes to the business of writing, our heroine explained what her thought process was; how she wrote her music (when talking with Harper’s Bazaar):

A lot of different things. Generally I’m curled up in a ball on a couch of some sort. I’m always freezing, so notebook in hand, some sort of shawl wrapped around me. Today we started with a beat. I said I really want to do something with a huge drumbeat, and we pulled a bunch of samples. Sometimes you write to track.”

DiLorenzo is enjoying interaction with new fans; loving the music life at the moment, and drinking in as much as possible. Her debut E.P. Love Me, Love Me Not showcased a restless young talent intent on domination; a singular and emotive voice that scored varied and deep music. There was some minor buzz and acclaim that arrived off of the back of that release; the adulation has grown considerably since, and it is something that our heroine is not accustomed to. When conducting an interview with examiner.com (last November), she was asked about how she deals with the feedback and praise:

“DiLorenzo is being quite modest when it comes to the buzz surrounding her music. Already receiving rave reviews in The Guardian, Women’s Wear Daily, and Vanity Fair’s George Wayne, while being compared to heavyweights from Lady Gaga to Fiona Apple, she is receiving the kind of attention that is the precursor to not just some solid record sales and a successful tour, but to something a lot bigger than that. But if she’s feeling overwhelmed or being affected by this rush of attention, you couldn’t tell…

The way that I see it right now is that there are a lot of people who don’t know about it and there are a lot of people I haven’t played the music for, and a lot of fans that don’t know about it. So you really just keep your head down and look to share the music with as many people as you possibly can. There’s always that thing that says ‘you’ve got to really keep making good music,’ and I don’t think that ever goes away. I hope it doesn’t.”

Modesty aside, it seems that the New Yorker is doing something right, and the music being offered is resonating with the collective mind-set. As well as gaining adulation and support in the U.S., the fans and press outlets here in the U.K. are turning themselves onto the music of Ariana & The Rose. It is a rise that has been much deserved, and something that owes to the uniqueness and simplicity of the music itself:

I wanted to make super catchy music that was absolutely pop, but I wanted to talk about the things that I wanted to talk about. I didn’t want to write la, la, las and sort of escapist music. I love that music when I go out and dance and all that, but I wanted to make something that got to be a bit more of a catharsis in pop. So you’re driving along and it’s super catchy, but it still lets you have a good cry if you want it. And I think maybe that’s why people like it – you get a melody stuck in your head and it’s not like you’re running away from the things that you’re feeling in your life. It delves right into the messy things, and that comes from the topics I wanted to write about. I wasn’t aiming for that, but when I turned around and looked at it, I thought that maybe this is something that is starting to happen with other artists, and I think it’s what people really want.”

In a scene that is promoting a lot of big personalities and brash music, it is great that Ariana & The Rose are receiving such celebration. A lot of new music tends either to be big and anthemic, or else gentle and tender- there is a middle ground that is not overly populous and busy. A lot of my recent features have focused on musicians whom favour heavier sounds and more primal movements. A great deal of solo artists at least, either present emphatic and operatic vocals, or take it right down- and favour introvertedness and sensitivity over pure force. If you think of all the female vocalists in music today, largely they will fit in either camp. It is an issue that was prevalent a few years ago (there has been some change and development), but there are still too few whom intersect soft and quiet; offer melody and power- tie together the two camps. As well as discussing her career and background (when speaking with examiner.com), our heroine tried to explain the reason behind the lack of ‘middle ground’ artists:

“…that for a while, you either had your singer-songwriters coming through or pop divas coming through, and there hasn’t really been someone in the middle to take the crown and say ‘wait a second, I can still be larger than life, but I can talk to you about some real things.’ Obviously, someone like Adele does that, and there have been these kinks in the system that have gotten through, but it hasn’t become a bigger thing. Someone like Lana Del Rey does that, and it’s starting to get there. It’s inching its way to the mainstream, which is cool because I make mainstream pop music, and I love doing that. To be able to get to talk about some broader topics and write interesting lyrics is great for me.”

It seems that the future is going to be very prosperous and busy for Ariana & The Rose; due to the special and unabated connection our heroine has with her fans it is likely that not only will touring commitments expand and rise; but new E.P.s and albums will be on the horizon. I shall get down to reviewing one of Head vs. Heart’s gems anon, but looking at the wealth of positive reviews that have already come in, leads me to believe that here is an artist and act whom can seamlessly transition into the mainstream- and offer something genuinely new and fresh.  DiLorenzo is proving herself to be one of the most impressive songwriters and talents on the block, and it seems that her material will not only expand and improve, but new subjects and inspirations provided. Due to her youth as well as busy schedule, our heroine is seeing a lot of new sights; experiencing a lot of new avenues and landscapes- and taking it all in. DiLorenzo is starting out and putting her fledgling steps together, so it is going to be exciting just what the future holds and where she is heading. The affection she has for the U.K. may well influence future sounds, and maybe new genres will be explored and spliced. At present, Head vs. Heart is where she is at; what is on her mind, and the sound of a hungry young woman determined to bare her soul. When speaking with The Huffington Post last month, our heroine tried to nail down its sound and explain its intricacies:

Writing ‘Head vs Heart’ really felt like the beginning of a new path for me in terms of my career and defining myself as an artist, and now putting these songs out into the world is the greatest pay off. These 4 songs are a taster, an introduction to what I’d like to share with people. The EP was inspired by the feeling of being torn, of being a part of situations where you never quite know what the right thing to do is. I try to approach these moments with humor and light, which is why I set these story-telling lyrics and melodies to fun dance beats and surrounded them with synths… The combination of the lyrics and music on this record is an outgrowth of how I handle the struggle between having my head and heart disagree: a dose of reality with a lot of playfulness and an open heart. I’ve always felt like the best pop music makes you feel like you want to dance and cry at the same time, that it can be so real and relatable and utterly infectious. My hope for ‘Head vs Heart’ is that it provides a bit of catharsis, that people feel like they can hear their story in the words and also dance out their heartache.”

Having been compelled by the quartet of songs on offer, it was In Your Bed that stuck in my mind. It is a song whose video has been garnering a lot of attention (and setting male tongues wagging); its themes are not only modern and relevant, but personal and honest. Whereas mainstream Pop acts tend to stick too rigidly to fluff and plastic proferrings, Ariana & The Rose’s songs delve a little deeper; uncover themes, stresses and problems that everyone faces- and provides a new angle. Head vs. Heart’s lead-off track has already won over many critical pens, and I was determined to investigate it myself- and see what all of the fuss was about.

The opening moments of In Your Bed see wordless vocalisation mingle alongside tender and sparse piano notes. It is a lead-in that sets the mood, and influxes of energy and intrigue too. By the time our heroine presents her first words, you are drawn into the seductiveness and sexiness- there is a tempetuousnessness in the dark piano notes and a come-hither allure in the voice. Evocativenesss and clear intent are laddered out right from the start. Telling the song’s hero to “Lay me down slow/Touch me all over with your eyes“- the combination of foreground and background vocal lines i highly effective. The wordlessness is present still, but our heroine offers a vocal imbued with breathlessness and passion; words and ideas are teased and tempted from the speakers. The lyrics being proffered have defiance and hard truths at their core; the song’s subject is being advised not to get ideas- to put things in perspective. Perhaps our heroine is playing the role of the Siren, with words such as “Just because I’m in your bed/Doesn’t mean I’m yours, mean I’m yours” sending out a clear signal. In the early stages there is a sense of bait-and-switch; our heroine tempts her man forth, but is keen to read him his rights. Most modern-day icons would instil a venom and overt anger into the melting pot, but here the voice is sturdy and swaying; it is sweet and dripping in honey- making the lyrics meaning more vibrant and urgent somehow. Instead of layering too many instrumental elements and assets into the song, there is a sparse and bare-naked presentation that not only fully utilises our heroine’s vocal- yet gives In Your Bed an appropriately atmospheric and coquettish sound. Before the mood lifts and the sonic heavens open, the build-up continues. In the song’s video, our heroine writhes and cavorts (on her own) under a bed sheet. Shot in black-and-white, gorgeous and seductive smiles are thrown at the camera the one moment, before her face becomes downcast (as our heroine lies on her side). It is a simple idea but one that is highly effective; you find yourself mesmerised by DiLorenzo’s beauty and performance, but compelled by her delivery- she means every word and has a definite subject in mind. Whether the track deals with a former lover, or a temporary parabond, I am uncertain, but our heroine wants to remain independent and steadfast- she is her own boss and will not be dictated to. As the biting line “You’re nothing” is delivered, you can sense that shiver and emotiveness in the voice as well as a sense of clarity and directness. As the song begins its explosive trajectory, the video changes course as well. Black and white tones are replaced with colour, as our heroine becomes more relaxed and matter-of-fact. The song’s themes look at a love or boyfriend that has become a bit clingy; his expectations are set quite high and he may be looking at a long-term romance. It is a fresh angle to take, as usually the roles are reversed; the man is usually the one whom prefers disposability and control- artists such as Gaga and Beyonce have toyed with it, but never to this extent. Our heroine is definitely wearing the trousers and in control; calling the shots and trying to let her man down easily. Whilst this all comes to fruition, a popcorn-sounding and spattering electronic parable is unleashed; at once sounding vintage and cutting edge. To my ear, there were elements of Violator-era Depeche Mode; a little bit of Pet Shop Boys as well- I am no aficionado of the genre, but these artists and flavours came to mind. There is an elliptical quality to the sound which not only lifts your spirit, but perhaps allows certain lines to drift by- unaware of just how biting they are. Our heroine has a clear message: “Don’t know how to say it/Wish you wouldn’t hope for so much more“, her voice displaying mixes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor-cum-Britney Spears- although a lot less highfalutin than the former and more evocative than the latter. In the video, our heroine provides a sly grin, her eyes are bright as seductively rests on her hand (shots of her foot rubbing against her leg add to the song’s sexuality and sense of tease). The vocal delivery is focused and straight; it does not deviate or succumb to ululation- our heroine keeps everything composed and concentrated. It seems that a rather unfortunate faux pas and mishap has enforced the track’s mandates. Our hero and heroine has had their moment and their fun, but it seems they are different pages- with the song’s hero getting ahead of himself. Pillow talk has turned into romantic utterances, and perhaps a cloying eagerness has put off our heroine. When the lines “Wish you hadn’t said it/A whisper too loud to be ignored/Hear me, just hear me/You think that you want me, you need me…” are delivered there is no spite or mocking in the voice- a maturity and professionalism comes through. Images in the video start to juxtapose and contradict the lyrics, adding a sense of wooziness and misinterpretation (perhaps fitting given what we have discovered from the story so far). Whilst words of regret and misspoken protestations are unearthed, our heroine frolics and cavorts kitten-like beneath the bed sheets; with a girlish and impish smile, perhaps a sense of emancipation and relief has crept into her mind. Upon closer inspection it seems that the lyrics-image blend may be pretty apt; our heroine shakes her head at the appropriate interval; matches the song’s lines with her performance- it seems that there is no bitter recriminations, just plain truth. I guess a lot of people whom listen to the track can relate to what is being said; maybe the gender roles will be reversed but many would have found themselves in a similar situation- a one-night stand awkwardly being seen as a window into a dedicated relationship. Our heroine is quite clear when it comes to her verdict (with regards to the night of passion): “You don’t, and I won’t/Oh I, oh I, a wasted night.” The vocal delivery changes course; in the early stages it was whispered and chocolatey in tone; at this stage it is more energised upbeat; still rife with a sexy and alluring vibe, the tones are less breathy and more Pop-esque. In the same way that Kylie Minogue was (perhaps less so now) able to infuse uncomplicated but effective Electronic beats with a stirring vocal, so too does Ariana & The Rose’s front-woman. Our heroine blends her silky and full-bodied voice with the peppiness of the electronics; by the time the chorus arrives you find yourself singing along- there is a catchiness and memorability to the delivery for sure. Our heroine lets her man know exactly what the situation is: “Just because I’m in your bed/Doesn’t mean I’m yours, mean I’m yours/Get me everything I want/Give me nothing more, nothing more.” When listening to these words, two things strike your mind (if you are watching the video): the striking allure of the images, as well as the strength of the delivery. The words are sung with a sense of optimism, a light heart which not only means the words stick in your brain, but you find yourself siding with the heroine- if there was bitterness or sarcasm, that may have not been the case. There is a bona fide infectiousness and smoothness in the delivery; soulful and playful vocals blend beautifully with the bubbling and entrancing electronics. In a sense there is a European sound to the song itself. I have witnessed Swedish Electro acts such as Club 8 and Say Lou Lou whip up the same kind of atmosphere- yet the track does draw in embers of New York’s Dance scene. The video helps to enforce the song’s messages; our heroine’s heart-melting smile invokes shivers and sighs, and that unavoidable sexiness and seductiveness comes through in every image- there is no overt raunchiness or explicitness; everything is tempted and teased. The song’s memorable and catchy coda is something that not only will be chanted in clubs and venues, but can be extrapolated by all listeners. The female audience can use it as a rallying cry; a bellicose clarion call that acts as a one-finger salute to all those clingy and grabby boyfriends- even though the song’s hero probably had noble and honest intent. In the way our heroine has her fun and is keen to leave the past behind, she could come off as a little cold or detached in principle; yet there is no reason to suggest that she should have given her heart up (considering the circumstances); the song’s delivery is so smile-inducing and fresh that you cannot help but to be won over and converted to the cause. The re-employed and gravitational coda (“Just because I’m in your bed/Doesn’t mean I’m yours, mean I’m yours/Give me everything I want/Give me nothing more, nothing more“) acts as the song’s business plan- essentially, it says to the man who you knew this wasn’t going to be a permanent thing, so you have no right to complain or feel aggrieved. At the 2:00 mark, the track changes slightly; the mood becomes less effusive, but the beat certainly doesn’t relax or quell itself. The wordless vocals build up and gain momentum by the second; the electronic pips and bubbles become bigger and faster paced; vocals layer and the heat and glare of the sunshine deliver becomes more prescient and dominant. Soon enough, the sonics temporize and focus; things become hazier and more languid; the beats and electronics stretch and elongate- fizzes and bombs of light keep the energy and heartbeat going, as well as add to the sense of relaxation and relief. With a final invocation of the chorus, the song comes down to a close, and our heroine (in the music video) leaves with a satisfied smile- knowing that her message has been made clear and she is calling the shots. After listening to the song, you cannot help but shake the chorus’s infectiousness and insatiable sound. The song’s messages may appeal to and resonate more with women and the 18-30 demographic, but the flair and quality of the music is autosomal dominant- and speaks and connects with everyone. I have been replaying the track and find it is the perfect companion to a warm spring evening; it is upbeat and summer-ready but no flyweight or throwaway. Our heroine’s voice is cooing and seductive; strong and striking- whatever mood is required she is ably up to the task. The beat and drive of the composition has its roots in Electronic music, but has Pop sensibilities within; meaning it will appeal to wide clans of music-lovers. With a solid and uncluttered production, everything comes through to the fore clearly- and highlights our heroine’s strengths. With simple yet effective lyrics, stunning voice and music combinations, and a striking mandate at its heart, In Your Bed is a terrifically assured and confident song that is by no means a fluke or one-off.

Photo: Maeghan Donahue | Heartbeat acoustic session

Having assessed the entirety of the Head vs. Heart E.P., it is not hard to see why Ariana & The Rose are seducing our stiff upper lips. The four tracks are rife with confidence and meaning; there are no histrionics or needless show-boating; each of the tracks are tight and well-composed and demonstrate our heroine’s key strengths: a powerful and emotive voice; intuitive and sharp lyrics and a rich and varied palette. It is true that Ariana & The Rose can tie together threads of Lady Gaga and Adele, but don’t let that scare you off (if you are not a fan of the former- like me- then have no fear). Our heroine has the same sort of knack for hooks and melody as Gaga, but there are few other similarities- perhaps a similarly empowered set of tracks, but you would be hard-pressed to compare the two. What is on offer is a unique and urgent artist whom has already charmed large swathes of the U.S. and U.K. Ariana & The Rose are in the midst of a packed U.K. tour and critics and reviewers here have already paid testament to the strengths and joys that are offered forth. I know my two cents are not going to be amongst the most impressive reviews our heroine has received, but I could not help but to delve into the artistry and ambitious of one of New York’s proudest offerings. One of the things that impresses me most about DiLorenzo is the connection with her fans. Often she can be found backstage or near a venue chatting with supporters; hanging out and shooting the breeze- instead of hurrying away and slinking into the night. It is no cynical voting ploy; it is a young woman whom has an openness and passion for music and those whom believe in it. This sense of passion and conviction comes through the songs of Head vs. Heart, and signals a tantalising and promising future. When speaking with Planetnotion.com last year, our heroine signalled out her ambitions:

Well, I started in theatre as an actress, so I danced from a very young age. I have that whole ‘I was three when I started dancing’ thing, and I segued into musical theatre very naturally and started singing. It wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 that I was ever in a recording studio; I did jingles and things like that. Through doing a lot of that stuff, I ended up meeting lots of different producers and writers: that was how I got into it. I always did music on the side. It was a great release… I went to NYU for college and to performing arts school. When I was about 20, I was in with a really cool group of writers and I was doing top-lines and writing on dance tracks. That was the first time that I thought I like doing this more than anything else. One of the tracks I wrote went on a record that was going to get distribution through a label; things were starting to happen. It was all really natural. I was never dreaming of being a pop star at 10 years old or anything, although who doesn’t dream of doing that.”

It seems as though things are going to plan, and our heroine is making all of the right steps. Too many new musicians see themselves as denizens; stuck in one particular place- never to move or tour too far. DiLorenzo is making sure that the Ariana & The Rose name is being played and promoted far and wide- and it will pay dividends. At the moment, our heroine is concentrating on ensuring that the E.P. is heard by as many as possible and it gets rightful attention. When chatting with Harper’s Bazaar, our heroine was asked whom she would like to collaborate with- given the choice of anyone:

I have the longest list. I would love to write music with Ryan Tedder. He’s written so many unbelievable songs. I’m also a huge Robyn fan. If I could do a duet with her—or just sort of bop next to her while she dances—that would be amazing. She was the first tape I ever had. I had it on a tape.”

Ariana & The Rose’s music is not that which can only be appreciated by a niche audience; that which can only be construed and appreciated by a select few- there is a openness and earnestness in the music that means it can be appreciated widely. Our heroine has the personality, beauty and talent to subjugate the most reluctant, yet she knows that there is a long way to go yet. It is clear that appreciation and respect means a lot to DiLorenzo, and she is eager for people everywhere to take it in. When asked by Fanlala.com where she wants her music to take her, our heroine answered:

I would love for my music to take me everywhere it could possibly go. Touring is my top priority, it’s my favorite thing to be doing. I’m also writing for a full-length right now. I just want my music to take me to as many cities as possible, and I want as many people as possible to hear it!”

I came away from listening to In Your Bed (and the E.P.) knowing that the next few years are going to be fulfilling for our heroine. When it comes to acts from the U.S., we tend to hear more about mainstream artists as a whole; the media introduces us to a few new American artists, yet for the large part, the listener has to do most of the digging. As well as The Open Feel and Little Dove (both based out of L.A.), I have had the fortune of reviewing a few U.S. acts, but feel that more should be done. It is great to promote and concentrate on home-grown artists, but it makes good sense to make us here aware what is happening across the world- bring the best international artists to the general attention. Perhaps the sheer weight and numbers of musicians has meant that prioritising has had to be done, but it could mean that some genuinely great acts are overlooked. In the case of Ariana & The Rose, it seems that things will be smooth at least. With an L.P. in the back of DiLorenzo’s mind, we will be hearing a lot more of the ambitious New Yorkerer- and her comrades. Our heroine is a case study of how to go about doing things the right way. She has not gone down the talent show route and succumb to sob stories and controversy- in order to win attention and fans. DiLorenzo may not have had the most auspicious of starts, but her hard work and tenacity has led to big things, and the momentum levied towards her music are opening doors and opportunities. When she was interviewed by Musicyouneed.net last month, our heroine was asked what advice she would give to new singers and artists:

“…be really honest with yourself of who you are and do that unapologetically. and find that one thing that Identifies with who you are because I think that is what sets you apart from people and that’s the way to get to most people is to say that this is me and I hope you like it.”

Ariana’s bandwagon is currently in Scotland, before heading further south- ending up on the south coast. It is going to be interesting to see what different cities and venues make of the stunning New Yorker, but reception so far has been universally positive and upbeat. From her Facebook and Twitter feeds, it appears our heroine is enjoying being in the U.K., lucky enough to be witnessing some (rare) sunshine- and taking in a lot of new places and faces. Before the crew head back to the U.S., our heroine takes her music to Bermuda Triangle in Brighton-before bidding farewell to the U.K. I shall have to make a note in my diary…

AND make sure I catch her there.

Photo: Kimi Selfridge

____________________________________________________________________________________

Head vs. Heart

Track Listing:

 

In Your Bed- 9.4/10

Heartbeat- 9.4

Hollow- 9.5

Love Me, Hate Me- 9.4

Standout track: Hollow

____________________________________________________________________________________

Follow Ariana & The Rose:

 Live Music at Breakout in London

Official:

http://arianaandtherose.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/arianaandtherose

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/arianatherose

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Arianaandtherose

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/arianaandtherose

Songkick:

http://www.songkick.com/artists/5337808-ariana-and-the-rose

BandCamp:

http://arianaandtherose.bandcamp.com/

Vevo:

http://www.vevo.com/artist/ariana-and-the-rose

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/Ariana+&+the+Rose

ReverbNation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/arianatherose

Tumblr:

http://arianaandtherose.tumblr.com/

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/ariana-the-rose/id594234952

____________________________________________________________________________________

Tour dates available at:

http://arianaandtherose.com/tour/

 

May

18th: York The Duchess United Kingdom

20th: Preston 53 Degrees United Kingdom

21st: Nantwich The Studio United Kingdom

22nd: Manchester Academy 3 United Kingdom

23rd: Birmingham The Institute United Kingdom

24th: Norwich Open United Kingdom

27th: Cardiff The Globe United Kingdom

28th: Reading The Bowery District United Kingdom

29th: London Islington Academy United Kingdom

30th: Brighton Bermuda Triangle United Kingdom

____________________________________________________________________________________

Ariana & The Roses’ press cuttings can be accessed via:

http://arianaandtherose.com/press/

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Ariana & The Roses’ previous videos can be viewed at:

http://arianaandtherose.com/video/

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Ariana & The Roses’ debut E.P, Love Me, Love Me Not is available via:

http://arianaandtherose.bandcamp.com/

 Love Me, Love Me Not cover art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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