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Aaron, Lee: Radio On!

Veteran, multi-platinum, award winning, Canadian vocalist Lee Aaron has returned with a new collection of 12 songs and a clear purpose behind her music on this release. Lee has stated that with this album she wishes to “invite you to tune into the heartbeat of your personal radio dial”. Using the analogy of an FM Radio delivering a diversity of emotionally impactful moments through the classic hits coming from the speakers, and in this way and with that in mind, Lee Aaron delivers her various thoughts and feelings.

Musically Radio On! is a melodic rock album aimed directly at the commercial rock market. Every song has plenty of hooks and melody and the band performs everything with a slick professionalism while the production is very clean and clear. The standout track is the slow burning “Devils Gold” with Lee sounding great throughout and the band building the intensity, slowly but assuredly with layered vocals and choral arrangements. Lyrically Lee covers themes of mortality on the songs "Radio On" and "Twenty One", she tackles materialism on "Devil's Gold", walks the path of empowerment on "Vampin'", explores addiction on "Wasted", embraces love on "Cmon" and "Had Me At Hello", and expresses her views of society on "Soul Breaker" and "Russian Doll". The lyrics, however, are somewhat cheesy and cliche throughout and the music is extremely generic. It’s the kind of music I imagine being played by some house band in Las Vegas where the band plays perfectly but lacks the fire of a hungry young band. It feels very much like commercial modern rock by the numbers. There are some good moments, like for example when the guitar solo in “Wasted” kicks in and the band gets going, but they are fairly few and far between. Whenever Radio On! gives us some hard rock it ultimately gets watered down with the overly safe and generic commercialism, which just leans too hard into pop rock for my liking. “Twenty One” even sounds like Lee is trying to channel Adele with the verse melody a little too close for comfort.

On the whole Radio On! feels way too safe and familiar and lacks the fire and danger of her earlier work. For fans of her classic albums, Metal Queen, Call of the Wild and even Bodyrock there really isn’t anything here for you. The metal is long gone and it’s been replaced by very safe and easily accessible melodic rock aimed at the masses in the same vein as a Nickleback or 90’s Bon Jovi. Lee Aaron still has a good voice after all these years and the band is tight but unfortunately Radio On! feels to have somewhat missed the mark of its mission statement.


Line Up:
Lee Aaron - lead vocals
Sean Kelly - guitars
Dave Reimer - bass
John Cody - drums


Track listing:
1. Vampin’
2. Soul Breaker
3. Cmon
4. Mama Don’t Remember
5. Radio On
6. Soho Crawl
7. Devil’s Gold
8. Russian Doll
9. Great Big Love
10. Wasted
11. Had Me At Hello
12.Twenty One

Added: August 21st 2021
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 296
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Aaron, Lee: Radio On!
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-09-02 14:49:24
My Score:

Cards on the metaphorical table. I'm a long term fan of Ms Aaron from the 1980s. Like many metal fans I lost touch with her during her jazz period but since her return to rock she'd done some really solid work and but if you like mature pop like say, Vanilla Ninja Is a masterclass in concise pop rock from the fuzzy guitar opening of Vampin' to the piano strewn glory of Twenty One. If there was any justic at all in this world, not that there is, this would be a massive hit album.

I see the reference above to Nickleback and pleasingly I am not familiar enough with their catalogue to know if the comparison is adequate but I do know that they are a synonym for shit and this record is anything but. It's packed with memorable hooks and melodies and yes, it isn't much like Metal Queen but if you like mature pop rock like say, Vanilla Ninja then this is for you.

Aaron sounds fantastic throughout and guitarist Sean Kelly is all over the album providing a classy rock edge to the pop stylings particularly on Devils Gold. I've had this one in heavy rotation since I got it and I suspect I may well do so for a while yet.

The ideal summer record " if we had a summer in the UK!



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