Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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Album Review: Rick Astley – Are We There Yet?

2 min read

There are only a handful of artists still working today that can confidently say that their career has had a resurgence, and one of those is Rick Astley. The 80’s mega-star rose to prominence with his hit Never Gonna Give You Up, a song that gained a renewed attraction in the form of a meme sent at first between emails, and then between DMs. In the past few years, Astley has continued to surprise crowds, first appearing with Foo Fighters to sing a rendition of his hit, and recently with his electrified set at Glastonbury. Now, the man has returned with a set of brand new tunes in the form of Are We There Yet?

Opener Dipping My Feet has a country feel, with Rick’s characteristically husky voice leading the charge atop tight drums, acoustic guitars, choral backing vocals. Its a lovely beginning that leads perfectly into following track Let It Go. The song has a similar aesthetic but a slower vibe that builds to a suitably low-key chorus. Golden Hour’s swing is on par with the softest Everly Brother’s tunes, swaying along with upbeat lyrics about getting the best of each other in a relationship. Lyrically overall, the album is incredibly strong, taking inspiration from the best of classic hits and folk songs and being sung with the highest of gravitas. Its a definite strength from the album. 

Never Gonna Stop and Close (Your Shoes) take a more dramatic turn, bringing in further soul elements like strings and group claps. The latter also is piano heavy, and reliant on it for building the dynamics. Forever and More and Maria Love are bluesy, Motown-inspired tracks that bounces along on a wave of brass, while Take Me Back to Your Place takes inspiration from Ben E. King’s Stand By Me in its piano groove. The one-two punch of penultimate track Waterfall and closer Blue Sky bring the tempo down bit by bit, until the latter finished of just piano, vocal and an ever-so-subtle cello. Astley’s voice on this final track is extra poignant, and well the finale begins and the other instruments come in, it really is a beautiful triumph.

Are We There Yet? won’t reinvent the pop formula, but Rick and his collaborators have managed to construct an appealing and excellently written album. From start to finish, the production is on point, as is Astley’s voice. It’s a perfectly arranged record that has something for everyone, recent fan or otherwise.