Silences turns over a new leaf for Adia Victoria. Although a departure from traditional blues, Adia maintains her spirit. She knows the rules, and she breaks them, creating a sound unique to herself. Where arrangements and production venture away from what avid blues listeners are used to, she maintains the lyrical integrity and melancholy that connoisseurs have adored for years.
Recorded with The National guitarist Aaron Dessner, also the producer for bands such as Mumford & Sons and Local Natives, Silences was a step out of Adia’s comfort zone. However, through the pair’s united creative energy, a beautifully pensive album, rich with religious allegory, proclamations of self-love and a dignified defiance against the limitations so often placed upon women, was created.
Abrasive lyricism is coarse throughout Silences. It pierces through the production that shifts back and forth between dusk and midnight. Nothing is ever quite sunshine, but there is hope.
The album opens with the intensely beautiful, Clean. A dark orchestral bass creates suspense while Adia unabashedly declares that she’s going to put her blade “where his heart is”. It’s a message to anyone, but specifically men, who confidently stride into areas not meant for them. For unknown reasons, Adia is merciful. She does not revel in the fact that she “killed [her] god”. Instead, she does it quick and “clean, so it did not hurt”. After expelling her murderous tale the track breathes, carried out by a sad violin and an arpeggiated synth that connotes uncertainty and mystique, a staple theme of the album.
Adia relishes in the prospect of leaving the south in Pacolet Road, and immediately follows it with The City, a reassuring lullaby for the overwhelming power of an urban environment. Each track invites the listener into a world that is not their own, and may not even be meant for them.
At times, the central message of the song can be lost on those not carefully listening. The intricacies of each song demand a certain level of attention and care.
Get Lonely provides a neat ending to the album. The meaning is ambiguous. Does she want to get lonely with a lover, or herself? The latter would indicate an extremely mature understanding of self-love which fits perfectly in line with the rest of her sophisticated songwriting.
Adia Victoria’s subdued vocals shine in lieu of acrobatics. It is all about the somber atmosphere she has so wondrously evoked throughout the record. Meshing the arrangements with the lyricism was the main focus while creating the album, and allowed for her cohesive story to come to life. She’s a storyteller who’s voice and lyrics are bound to ignite a wide range of emotions within us all.
Key Track: Get Lonely
Score out of 10: 8/10
Adia Victoria is currently touring to support Silences in the United States.