adaline

First Look: Adaline’s “The Noise”

It’s time to admit it. Success in the music industry isn’t always based on talent — a large part also depends on image. Hell, sometimes even image alone can make you, talented or not.

Adaline, however, has plenty of both. The artist, born Shawna Beesley, has more than enough talent to go around. Her live performances and presence overflow with a cool sort of confidence, stylish and hip but not pretentious and overbearing. It’s the perfect storm and a music label’s dream.

This comes across clearly in Adaline’s new music video for “The Noise”, the latest single off her sophomore album, Modern Romantics. The storyline of the video, while a bit abstract, speaks to the context of relationships and looks at the environments where we foster emotional connection. In a city filled with noise and the buzzing of society, where’s the romance?

Of note is director JP Poliquin, who also directed Adaline’s last music video for “Whiter/Straighter.” Poliquin does a great job with “The Noise” and it’s clear he’s a director to follow in the future.

Adaline, “The Noise”
From Modern Romantics (2011)

Adaline – “The Noise”, Modern Romantics (2011)
Director:  JP Poliquin; Production Company:  The Field
Executive Producer:  Cherie Sinclair; Producer:  Jason Aita
DOP:  Todd Williams; Editor:  JP Poliquin
Choreography:  Sidney Leeder
Dancers:  Sidney Leeder, Monica Calzaretto, Milda Gecaite, Katherine Rakus, Randi MacQueen
Male Lead:  Ted Puglia
Hair and Makeup:  Luisa Duran; Stylist:  Muska Zurmati
Label:  Light Organ Records

Feature photo and screen captures by Stephanie Ip.

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First Listen: Modern Romantics

Adaline's 'Modern Romantics' is due Nov. 1, 2011 on Light Organ Records. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

The first time I heard Shawna Beesley — known to most as Adaline — play “That’s What You Do Best” was at a piano recital at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, B.C. The stage was covered in candles and in the center, a baby grand piano and a girl who just loved those black and white keys.

At that point, the song was a sultry, simple, flirtatious theme. I remember the way she introduced the song, laughing into the microphone, bantering playfully with her friends and audience. The song was bare and basic, living only on her deep, throaty vocals, accompanied by the classical twirl of its Spanish melody.

That’s What You Do Best

Now, it’s the lead off Adaline’s sophomore album, Modern Romantics. “That’s What You Do Best” is no longer the simple tune it once was — it’s been worked up to a multi-layered, driving, insane theme of passion, full of chaos and disorder, thrown about by the battered arms of lovers. Like the other songs on the album, there’s the same characteristic voice but it’s now surrounded by the textured and varied layers of skilled production and electronic elements — a sign of Adaline’s audio evoution.

Modern Romantics

The album due on Nov. 1 has been a long time coming since Adaline’s debut album, Famous For Fire, was released in 2008. Graduating from sweeping ballads to electrifying pop haunts, there’s almost a seasoned playfulness on Adaline’s latest effort that somehow wasn’t there before. But while the songs veer into a strange, unfamiliar, yet comfortable direction, Adaline’s lyrics are still very much the same voice listeners have grown to love.

“That’s what I think I was attracted to from the get-go: Somebody who can write a lyric – which again, I can’t stress enough — is just not common, y’know? People who have an elegance with language,” said Canadian quirk-rock artist Hawksley Workman who, along with Marten Tromm and Tino Zolfo, produced Modern Romantics in Toronto, Canada.

Adaline on the set of her new music video for "The Noise," directed by JP Poliquin at Pinewood Toronto Studios. (VANESSA HEINS PHOTO)

Sparks

While Adaline’s last album was very much a journey of sorts, her second album is broken down into different pieces of the same puzzle. Famous For Fire, as gorgeous as it was, couldn’t be fully appreciated in just one song. The 2008 release required a full end-to-end listening before the beauty in every detail shone through.

Modern Romantics, however, boasts more immediate satisfaction with each song carrying its own weight. The album definitely lends itself more easily to radio play and while some may critique that quality, it’s something highly sought after in a world full of disposible pop songs. With this latest offering, Adaline’s proven that she’s not just raw talent but that she can also harness that skill into mastering even the trickiest of pop formulas.

For a preview of Adaline’s Modern Romantics, visit her website at www.adalinemusic.com. Be sure to catch Adaline on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at the Biltmore where she’ll be hosting her Vancouver album release party for Modern Romantics. Tickets are $14.74 (includes service fees) and are available on Ticket Web. Trust me. You won’t want to miss this one.

Featured photo by Vanessa Heins; graphic design by Justin Broadbent.

Full Disclosure: I worked as an intern with Adaline for a brief time in 2009. Take this review with a grain of salt — I’m a bit biased since she’s one of my favourite Vancouver (now Toronto) artists.