Review by Emily Smith
Mixing genres in music often liberate musicians to deliver an engaging performance by extracting the most interesting aspects and blending it into one exciting sound. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, electro-rock group Ayla Ray has perfected the art of incorporating several genres into their unique sound in order to elevate their music! In their latest single “Mistress,” a mysterious yet surprisingly animated track that delves into the group’s theatrical side.
The song opens with a muted beat before the instrumentation kicks in. The most prominent aspect being the guitar that dances around the thick bass. Even in the first few seconds of the song, it’s apparent how many genres Ayla Ray manages to incorporate into the track. Elements of electronic and rock are at the forefront of this sound, yet the listener may also notice elements of pop and even a little bit of funk in certain spots.
“Mistress was inspired by the challenges of balancing ambition and personal relationships. I think everyone has a mistress of sorts in their lives, be it a passionate hobby or a love for an art,” says the band. “This songs is a declaration of admiration to those who have overcome these challenges and succeeded in living a balanced life.”
The vocals even manage to fuse genres together. Like a mix between a Broadway singer and a rock vocalist, the lead singer creates a dramatic and theatrical aura to the song, as if it’s part of an avant-garde musical. His singing style is particularly refreshing, and you can tell he is clearly unafraid to break out of straightforward singing to add a dramatic flare to the song.
Overall, the instrumentation and the vocals give off an eerie, yet extremely catchy vibe to the track. Together they create a very powerful song and really cultivates the “larger than life” performance style.
The lyrics also contribute to the overall tone of the track with plenty of imagery of lace, pantomimes, etc., that reference a vintage aesthetic. The lyrics also feature themes of mischief and hauntings as seen in, “Taste your freakness/ Come and make some mischief with me/ Shake with your mistress/ Your haunting brings her closer now.” In other parts of the song, the listener can hear some haunting harmonies from the backing vocals like in lyrics, “I adore your clean wonder,” which subtly add to the tone of the song that Ayla Ray is aiming for.
The closing of this song is when the vocals peak in an overall effort to make the piece dramatic and theatrical. The vocals are passionate in the delivery of the lyrics, “You’re coming closer to me now/ Your haunting brings her closer now/ Don’t slow down now/ Shake my weakness/ Come make some mischief/ Take my weakness/ You’re coming closer to me,” finishing off the song with a powerful ending.
“Mistress” is a track sure to entice anyone looking for a dramatic performance and a masterful blend of various genres.
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