Ashley J – Satisfied
Young performers this good don’t come around much anymore. The world of popular music isn’t a meritocracy, unfortunately, and many otherwise talented performers likely end up valuing a more settled life and take the path of least resistance rather than pursuing dreams that may not pay off. Then you have performers, singers, and artists like Ashley J. She has a vast talent few of her contemporaries can hope to match and has backed it up with the commitment to making sure her voice and skills are presented in the best possible light. The results of such dedication have been steadily more and more impressive and the latest single from this Orlando, Florida born talent, “Satisfied”, is her greatest achievement yet on all fronts. Don’t mistake the title, however, for some indication that she’s settled for a certain level of anything. This is an assertive performance from a young artist with worlds ahead of her to conquer.
There are no traditional instruments like guitar dropped into this track. It’s a synthesizer and electronic rhythm section driven from the first, but that never robs it of the same gripping quality we experience listening to a first class live band. Instead, this arrangement involves listeners from the first thanks to the way it evolves along accepted and time-tested parameters while still surprising casual and experienced listeners alike with inventive switches in its beat. There’s definitely a strong EDM influence in the arrangement, but it never comes at the expense of making the song a more hollow vessel for Ashley J’s songwriting and has superb production values that make it a worthwhile listening experience. It’s to the song’s further credit that Ashley and her creative cohorts have kept a firm rein on its structure and never let the song exceed its reach ending it just before the three and a half minute mark.
Ashley will make listeners’ ears pop thanks to her effortless blending of pop and soul elements. There’s obvious tremendous commercial appeal in her voice that you hear from other singers, but what she serves up that others are missing is an underrated gravitas behind everything she delivers. It even achieves a bluesy ambiance at certain points. It’s an unexpected ingredient to add in an arrangement that is much more traditionally minded and the resulting tension gives “Satisfied” much of its delicious groove and snap. She has canny instincts, as well, for singing as the song features several moments when she lets the music take over and returns with greater impact than she had if her voice dominated more of the recording. The quality of this song is a real doozy. She brings a level of style and dramatic power to a form often derided as largely incapable of both that separates her from the vast majority of performers working in this style today. Ashley J’s “Satisfied” moves the goalposts of excellence for this young woman’s career and her future from this point on looks brighter than ever before.