Ria Mae – Ria Mae

Ria MaeWhen Clothes Off hit radio airwaves nearly two years ago, it was one of the freshest sounds to come out of Halifax in years, courtesy of Nova Scotia rapper/producer Classified, whose own single Inner Ninja helped catapult the east coast sound from the coffee shop/garage rock era it had been stuck in for decades to modern pop and hip-hop. Not to trash my home’s music, but there’s always room for other styles and it seems only recently musicians from the region are realizing and accepting that. It’s refreshing!

And refreshing is one of the words that best describes Ria Mae‘s first major label self-titled album that capitalizes off of the fresh sound that gave her a major national hit last year – and Juno nomination for Single of the Year. The once-folk singer has embraced pop music, modern beats, drums and bass and, without sacrificing her singer/songwriter ways, she’s come out with an album that fuses light hip-hop and electro with yearnful folk and pop, resulting in a natural sound that few folk artists would be able to pull off without sounding awkward.

From the funkiness of the remix-ready Clothes Off and the jazzy If You Don’t Love Me, to the dance smash Gold and the album’s only acoustic recording, You And Me – a killer song that shows it’s not just the beats that make Ria shine, the album is polished and smooth without being dense. Full of enticing melodies and sometimes heartbreaking lyrics, it’s a sure sign that east coast artists can do pop music as well as anyone else – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Five stars

1. Wherever We Go
2. Clothes Off
3. Ooh Love
4. If You Don’t Love Me
5. Thoughts On Fire [featuring Classified]
6. Leaving Today
7. Girlfriend
8. Crazy
9. I Don’t Wanna Know
10. Under The Bridge
11. You And Me [Acoustic]
12. Gold

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