Boots, a.k.a. Jordy Asher, a producer, singer and songwriter, who’s mostly known for having worked with Beyoncé on her self-titled record, released his solo debut album on November 13th. However, AQUARIA has a sound that’s miles away from the diva’s carefully produced R&B hit.
There’s a dreary atmosphere surrounding the album; from the obscure tone of the lyrics to the entrancing, apocalyptic sound of the electronic music framing them, there’s a distinct darkness attached to the work itself that is both shiver-inducing and incredibly interesting.
The first few tracks of the record are clear proof of that—“Brooklyn Gamma,” the opening title, is a song with a heavy, loud bass line, distorted guitars and words that speak of a dreadful loneliness spit in a melancholic voice, whereas “C.U.R.E.,” an almost continuation of the previous song, depicts a dystopian world of desolation that’s awfully close to our own, with quick, irregular beats that stay true to the album’s dark and cryptic tone.
The rest of the album follows the same tendency—melodies that are evocative of an imminent doom, and lyrics that explore themes such as isolation, sexuality and despair. Their unified sound, however, makes it harder for the songs to distinguish themselves from the others.
As a whole, AQUARIA shows influences of rock and grunge—the low sound of roaring guitars, the quick beat of pounding drums—as well as an obvious electronic sound that’s present in almost all the tracks. It’s cohesive, and complex in its simple formula, and manages to express just as much emotion and feeling as any of the lyrics.
One of the assets of the album resides in the singer’s voice. Boots uses a variety of vocal techniques throughout the record, shifting from rapping, like he does in “C.U.R.E.” or “Dead Come Running,” to singing with a falsetto that’s recurring and characteristic of songs like “Earthquake” or “I Run Roulette.” That constant change in a way shouldn’t work, but somehow, it does.
It’s in the exceptions, however, that lie the album’s gems. “Only,” one of the very few slow-paced songs on the record (if not the only one), is arguably the highlight of the entire work. It’s reminiscent of another time, older and simpler in its melody than the rest of the tracks, featuring a piano melody, slow drums, and the distinct guitars we hear throughout the entire album. In this song, the true prowess of the singer is clearly shown. “I am the only one alive, it’s the only thing I know,” he sings with a mournful voice, that’s sometimes low and murmured, sometimes high and loud, yet wistful. The song is brilliantly different from the rest, yet still fits with the mood of the album—solitude is its main theme, and the texts delve into it amazingly well.
With this full-length debut, Boots managed to create something new and agreeably intriguing that holds a promising future for the artist. Maybe, with a little more diversity to the melodic aspect of his work—more of “Only” and its genius, please—the young singer could really break through and make his distinct sound known and praised.
Written By: Sarah Boumedda
Originally Published: December 2015