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Aradia - Aradia (self-released)

16 November 2023

It might seem odd to write about Aradia on a site like this, one known more for rock and indie, folk and alt-country than pop music. And you would have a case if this were ordinary pop music. But it is not. Yes, Aradia ticks a lot of the same boxes as any other pop act: infectious grooves and buoyant beats, accessible and relatable lyrics, and slick production. But the different sonic elements she brings to her songs make her more than just another purveyor of pop and streets ahead of the genre’s other movers and shakers.

Beneath the pop veneer, it is easy to detect the same cool krautrock beats that the likes of Kraftwerk first explored, albeit with a warmer and less clinical application, plus no small amount of indie sass and rock swagger, maybe not sonically, but the attitude is unmistakable. And, like Dusseldorf’s favorite fun foursome, Aradia isn’t bothered about commercial success; she would instead turn music into art and use that art to promote the foundation of a more equitable, empathic, compassionate, and peaceful world.

And as if to prove that she is more than just another pop act, you have to listen to songs like “Keep On”, a song taking in tabla drums, hi-octane clubland grooves, raga beats, sub-continental raps, and energy levels that push the song into a state of euphoria. And that is just one song. Same old, same old pop? I very much think not!

There is pop as an end-of-the-night anthem with “Imagine”, pop as a kosmiche take on off-kilter dance tunes courtesy of “Soar”, pop as spacious neo-soul thanks to “Fire”, and pop with industrial strength dance grooves. But none of it is genuinely pop, not in the conventional sense, and that is what is so great about it. Pop plus? Pop with a PhD?

If you are looking for another dance diva or pop princess, look elsewhere. If you are looking for not just the future sound of pop but even a new chapter in mainstream music, look no further.