Updated: Apr 11
by Az Sandhu
AbeliA found her passion for singing when she was 8 years old, her voice adapts itself to the subject, conveying emotions with incredible ease it lend itself to the variety of styles in Eternal Optimist.
Somewhere in an old, oak floored room next to a grey sea, a solitary musician dusts off the unused piano and starts playing a haunting melody and sings us her tales of heartbreak and hope. This is what I imagine when listening to AbeliA’s slower paced ballads.
Vocally AbeliA’s voice has a similarity to Lady Gaga, if Lady Gaga was really Ally from A Star is Born. The soulful Ally, before she gets transformed into synth pop.
AbeliA’s voice excels when singing ‘Believe’ and ‘Don’t Say Goodbye” which are the slower songs on this album. The production in ‘Believe’ in particular gives it a real sense of hope and bittersweet sadness. The vocal delivery is stunning and compliments the music perfectly.
The other side of AbeliA leans unashamedly towards Blues, Gospel and Country. I can’t think of anything more apt to introduce the listener to this side of her than singing “Seventeen miles from New Orleans” in the intro of ‘Shout it Out Loud.’ Just this first line and the way she delivers it makes me think of The Doors, a comparison I wasn’t expecting.
Lyrically AbeliA is able to spark imagination, putting the listener in a certain place instantly, her words elicit feelings and places in just a few short lines. The lyrics “Sun is shinning as the dirt turns to dust” take me right to a desert somewhere in an American desert.
The album’s production is fairly straight forward, which is good to have a grasp of what AbeliA can delivers live. AbeliA’s voice is outstanding on all the songs on the album however there is a disparity between the ballads and the faster paced songs. The simplicity of the production compliments the slower songs whereas the faster songs long for more instruments and backing vocals to bring the songs to life and add another dimension.
Overall The Eternal Optimist is enjoyable, the type of album I would listen to on a road trip through the USA.