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Nadia Ali - 'Embers'

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By Chase Gran

Well, here it is! Fans around the world have been waiting over four years for Nadia Ali of the group iiO to release her first solo album, and she definitely does not disappoint. The album Embers is full of delicious dance/trance that will take your breath away.

It starts off with the song "Triangle," about characters named Jack, Joe, Jane, and Jill. The verses confuse me because they"re full of Jack loves Jane who is with Joe who loves Jill who loves Jack, etc etc, but the chorus is understandable. Nadia delivers quite well, and the end product is catchy and fun. It's the perfect album opener as it shows how her personal style is slightly different from her previous work with iiO.

Next is Nadia's first solo single, "Crash And Burn." It's very radio-friendly, and mixes her two favorite sounds together: electronic and acoustic, a strange combo that works out perfectly. After "Crash And Burn" comes a slow song (not quite a ballad) called "People" that may not leave an impact on your first listen. With a steady beat throughout the song, and guitars in the background, it's very relaxing and moving, but just lacks a good hook. You"ll come to appreciate this song after a few listens, so don't give up on it.

Next is probably the catchiest track on the album. "Ride With Me," produced by Alex Sayz and Nick Wahlberg (who produced three of the four standout tracks on the album). This is upbeat and fun and another electronic/acoustic-sounding song that will be playing in your head over and over again for days. The verses and the pre-chorus/chorus blend into each other seamlessly, and the last lines of the chorus, "I was only asking if you"d ride with me/Through this thing called life," make the song feel very accomplished.

Turn the bass up (although you probably already have) for the next track, as it won't be worth listening to if you don't. "Not Thinking" is a mediocre track that screams filler. I guess the chorus is nice, but that's just lucky as it's not special in any way. The bassline is yummy, but it can't save the song. The next track, "Be Mine," is a grower. This song sounds like it would fit in with the soundtrack of "Grease" if it were produced back in the late 70s, making it the track with the strangest style compared to the rest of the album. But of course it's nice to have one of these on any album.

The slow-moving 'silver Lining" is the the next track, and the longest on the album. First you"ll hear 30 seconds of strange moaning harmonies, then breezy synths with some more moaning harmonies, then Arabic music. Then the track starts getting good with drums and Nadia's vocals. Like "People," it may not leave any impact at first, but give it a few more listens and you"ll probably develop a slight crush on it.

After "Silver Lining" you might be getting a bit bored because it was so long and not particularly special, but you"ll be interested again within the first few seconds of the next track, "Point The Finger." This is the fan favorite, and deservingly so. Another Alex Says & Nick Wahlberg production, "Point The Finger" is slightly reminiscent of iiO's "Kiss You," but more upbeat and danceable. The beats are the sugar, the synths are the cocoa, and Nadia's vocals are the milk... mixing together to create creamy milk chocolate that you"ll eat right up! Lyrics-wise, it adds a clever twist to the cliche breakup storyline. The only thing I don't like about this song is the ending which comes suddenly, leaving you feeling empty for a split second.

The next song, "Mistakes," I found to be dull and boring. If one track had to be deleted from the album forever, it should be this one. I"m listening to it right now, and I can't help but to think tha-...zzzZZZzzzz. zzZZZZZZzzzzzzz...oh! Where were we? Up next is my personal favorite track. The third single from the Embers album, "Fine Print," has all the right ingredients, plus a tasty topping! The verses are a bit dark, but fun with heavy synths and a nice beat. Then the chorus comes along and I realize why it's my favorite track. Nadia's voice hits all the right notes with ease, and a very impressive range. On top of that, the lyrics are the most impressive of all the tracks on the whole album. It leaves my mouth watering for more every time!

"Promises" is the next track, and the only one that Nadia didn't write. Paul Bosko wrote it, and it's quite nice, as a sweet song about a relationship that might be about to end. Next up is the second single from the album, "Love Story." It sounds a lot more trance-y than any other song on the album, and is dreamy all the way through. Nadia's beautiful harmonies will take you to another world, like all good trance music should. This is the one standout track that isn't produced by Alex Sayz and Nick Wahlberg, instead being produced by Sultan, Ned Shepard, and Nadia herself.

The last track, "Fantasy," is scheduled to be the fourth single from the album. Maybe the remixes can save it, because it's not very memorable by itself. "Fantasy" is an average ballad that seems to try so hard, but goes nowhere impressive. Her harmonies are nice though, so give it a listen. Maybe you"ll like it more than I do.

In the end, Nadia Ali gives us a well rounded, gourmet album with impressive songs. iiO fans will go crazy over Embers although it's slightly different than what was most likely expected, and I"m sure it will spawn a few more hits on the Club Charts.

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