Ashley J – Satisfied
Ashley J’s musical journey from her Orlando, Florida upbringing to her current status as a blossoming pop superstar has featured a number of twists. She’s donned a number of musical hats during her brief commercial career – she’s cut music in studios from Nashville to Los Angeles before finally settling into her current style. Ashley J has truly found her proper ground as a pop vocal powerhouse with songwriting talents to back it up and throws herself heart-first into this performance. It results in a performance that will likely end 2018 still rating high as one of the year’s best singles and reflects both J’s talent and unquestionable dedication that’s fueled her rapid rise through popular music ranks. “Satisfied” leaves this young lady poised on the cusp of top shelf stardom and, if the stars align in her favor as they should, she can go on from that point forward fully confident that she’s arrived at this place the way truly great recording artists do – by following their muse and heart.
Her vocal command is breathtaking. She moves from peak to valley without ever showing any apparent strain and, despite this being a studio recording where one can correct performance flaws in post production, you get zero sense that Ashley J’s voice requires such manipulation. Her phrasing is equally immaculate. She has great instincts for pop songs, but she brings an almost singer/songwriter sensitivity to how she explores the lyric while never surrender her aim to entertain listeners. She doesn’t attempt to outshine the instruments and, instead, perfectly tailors her voice to the performance without ever giving up her claim to being the heart of the track. She definitely imbues it with her own heartfelt character and humanity that notably contrasts with the electronic sound of the track. The synthesizer lines running through this tune nearly match the warmth of her voice, but the musical mandate is clearly the same as the vocal in some respects – there’s no effort to attempt stealing the spotlight from Ashley J’s singing and the support it provides her is exemplary.
The three minute twenty second running time allows the song opportunity to explore its plate of musical ideas without ever feeling rushed. “Satisfied” has a relatively straight forward subject matter lacking much in the way of possible subtext and yet the singing and arrangement alike convey it with every bit of the urgency it needs and deserves. The tempo of the song shifts slightly at numerous points throughout the track, but it never veers off course and gives the musical side of the track much of its physicality. Ashley J’s first single of 2018 finds her making a quantum leap forward from her already high standing and she pushes her voice to new heights with absolute confidence in what she’s doing. “Satisfied” is one of the best pop singles in recent memory and sure to draw a lot of new ears to hear what Ashley J is doing.