SINGLE REVIEW: Stay in America by Ashley Delima
Photo credit: Jesse Lizotte
Ashley Delima’s “Stay in America” is an impressive single on every level. There’s a genuine commercial jolt it provides guaranteed to engage listeners, it says something meaningful rather than just urging you to get out of your chair and dance, and crackles with musical imagination we normally don’t associate with such young talent. Ashley Delima sings like someone who has been singing her entire life and the penchant for phrasing she demonstrates during every line of the song works in near seamless accord with the arrangement rather than trying, deliberately or unwittingly, to suffocate it. The quality backing she receives on the song is reflective of an adult approach to pop music that, nevertheless, doesn’t sacrifice its capacity for connection with the target audience. She definitely wants to convey the urgency of the song’s issue and does so with immense skill, but her talent extends further than that by demonstrating a sharp instinct for musically entertaining listeners.
There’s some really nice musical performances driving this tune. Drummer Adam Jackson and percussionist Daniel Sadownick make for an extraordinarily artful, yet understated, team controlling the tempo of the song and they lay down a sturdy yet flexible foundation for the tune that shifts gears at will. Guitarist Vin Landolfi’s six string work is another critical part of the song’s success and connects with the song’s other instruments in such a way that it creates a coherent and memorable whole. Delima’s vocal tops everything off wonderfully with a vocal melody that acts as almost counterpoint, both in mood and tempo, with the arrangement. The contrasting elements going into this song make for a more compelling listening experience. What makes everything truly come together, however, is the outstanding mix courtesy of Mark Needham whose work with bands as diverse as Fleetwood Max and Imagine Dragons has established him as one of the foremost in his field.
Delima’s lyrics are equally outstanding. They reach far beyond the typical purview of pop lyrics and, instead, serve us up an eloquent statement on the song’s subject that never lapses into preachiness. Delima never advocates for her side of things – she’s not trying to convince a listener she’s right. There’s no question of rightness from the first and she presents her case as something that’s beyond any argument without ever coming off strident or aggressive. The vocal melody highlights the strength of those words, like a great vocal melody can, and Delima’s authoritative voice rides that melody with unwavering belief in herself and the message she’s pushing. “Stay in America” is an exceptional single that will engage listener’s brains and bodies alike and gives Ashley Delima an ideal platform for sending her career rocketing into the future. She gains much from working with such figures like the aforementioned musicians and Marc Swersky, Brielle Brown, but she’s the real star here and burns brighter than you might initially suspect.
by Alonzo Evans
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