Debut EP Satisfied by Ashley J is a five-song outing establishing her as one of the more promising rising talents entering the pop arena in recent years. She undoubtedly has enormous visual appeal thanks to her classy, almost old Hollywood beauty, but there’s far more than a pretty face driving the merits of Satisfied. She’s worked on Unsatisfied with major industry forces and talents like producers Lucas and Adam Rezza, multi-platinum Grammy and Emmy winning producer/songwriter Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and others) and the lessons she’s learned from these various collaborations will undoubtedly inform her career for years to come while also deepening the worth of this release. She’s already scored with a pair of singles from this release, but the release of the EP marks a heightening of her name in the public eye sure to draw her more attention than ever before.
“Trapped” is, arguably, the EP’s most intense and hardest edged tune. Ashley, as both a singer and co-writer of the track, does a superb job of embodying the desperation rife in this song while still providing an entertaining experience for listeners. She clearly favors an EDM sound for much of her work, but it isn’t the paint by numbers variety, sterile, cold. Instead, the arrangements on Satisfied build satisfyingly and possess a warm sound even casual listeners will embrace. The resolute statement of purpose comprising the heart of “Unbreakable” is affecting because no one can ever quite do that, but anyone who’s ever lost in love will definitely relate to Ashley’s songwriting. The pacing of this song is particularly appealing and brings a new energy level to the release it hasn’t enjoyed with the first song.
Ashley J will leave you Satisfied
The pinnacle of her achievement likely comes with the EP’s title track and it’s clear she and her collaborators slaved over its sound and design much more than they did the admittedly fine surrounding material. Title songs for collection, by implication, look to make definitive statements of sorts and the layering of her EDM influences with a particularly effective vocal makes this title song stand out as it should.
“Like You Used To” is much more in the vein of outright EDM pop than the earlier tunes, but the challenging vocal keeps things popping in a way we don’t often hear from music of this ilk. It’s another commanding vocal performance from Ashley. She saves her finest moment, perhaps, for the EP’s final song “When I Come Home to You”. This song definitely presents a different aspect of her musical presentation as the well-recorded presence of acoustic guitar is crucial to the song’s success. Satisfied is one of the most satisfying pop or an EDM release to come out in recent years and it’s largely because of the transformational talent at the center of the song. Ashley J is a different breed and we’ll be hearing from her for years to come.
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-review by Shannon Cowden