“The Real Thing” is the first track on Ria’s self-titled album, and it is important for setting the stage for the rest of the album. There is a decidedly pop sound to the track that touches upon different styles ranging from the eighties on; while there is a Pet Shop Boys electronic feel to the backing instrumentation, there is a current and contemporary feel to Ria’s vocals. This blending of styles, coupled with a lively overall sound for the track, will ensure that listeners stick with Ria’s work throughout each of the album’s twelve cuts.
“Anymore” showcases a decidedly different tack taken by the instrumentation, with a little more of an R&B feel than was previously broached during “The Real Thing”. Fans of Kelly Clarkson or even crossover R&B starlets like Pink will have much to appreciate during “Anymore”, while Ria continues to shake things up with “Alright”. “Alright” is a much more slow type of track than anything else heard on the title, allowing the instrumentation to slide back a little bit. This intentional decision made really gives listeners a look into exactly how talented Ria’s narration can be, as the track’s story sticks with me after the album spins to a stop. “Simply Happy” is a track that links together the quicker style of “The Real Thing” and “Anymore” with the more steady tempo of “Alright”.
However, the combination of these two styles creates a track that is tremendously catchy and for me represents the pinnacle of this album. While later tracks, such as the bold and Latin-flavored “Queens” and almost-Jpop tinged “Club Zombie”, give Ria further tools to use on subsequent recordings, there is no reason why “Simply Happy” should not be at the top of any pop radio’s rotation. The release ends with “Still”, a track that is bleeding-edge while having an overall style that is influenced by mid-nineties Madonna. The R&B-infused periphery of “Still” (influenced by Pharrell and Timbaland) showcases Ria’s eclectic nature, and gives listeners that little urge to search out any new tracks or live dates that Ria may grace them with. For fans of pop, of all sub-genres and era, Ria’s self-titled disc is something that should be picked up.
Top Tracks: The Real Thing, Simply Happy
Ria – Ria / 2010 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/RIAmusiconline / http://www.youtube.com/RIAmusiconline