Artist of The Week Adiam – Black Wedding
Does anyone else remember that period in the late 90s when “girl power” was a genre? It was a weird moment, when completely unrelated artists such as the Spice Girls, Garbage and Fiona Apple were lumped together in a way. Treated as a single entity, they were sold as “female empowerment” for the masses. The entire late 90’s was a weird time for music. During that period, the record labels and music press decided that “electronica” was also a genre, which was vaguely comprised of everything that maybe had a keyboard or a hard beat. It was all nonsense, though. There were some truly amazing pop albums that came out during that time which, despite being shoehorned into weird, nonexistent categories, still made for an excellent listen.
The thing is, Adiam’s Black Wedding would have been perfectly at home in the late 90s. The industry would have dubbed it ‘girl power’, they would have called it electronica… and they would have been right. It’s fun to call an album “genre-defying,” when the truth is, that you’re too lazy to figure out exactly what it is. This album has elements of R&B, drone, chant, hip-hop, trip-hop, and chamber pop within it. So, it doesn’t defy genres as much as it employs them. The sound is so familiar, but at the same time revolutionary in the current music scene. In an environment in which we are absolutely drowned in loud, cacophonous pop singles that implore us to be joyful at every turn (lest the existential darkness have even a moment to shine through), it’s incredibly refreshing to have an album this… slow. Every song is a revelation, an exercise in real girl power. The title track opening the album plunges us headfirst into the power and noise that Adiam uses to give her beautifully-written songs a suitable stage. The production is crisp and clean – no sound out of place.
Also a revelation: Adiam’s voice. Much like the music itself, Adiam’s voice is versatile, sweet, and full of quiet power. At moments she sounds like Tracy Thorn, sometimes even Annie Lennox, and other times her voice reminds me of Santigold: more fire, less calm. Each track sees her modulating her voice slightly to meet the needs of the song and production. Adiam during “Quiet Desperation” and Adiam during “Immaculate” are unmistakably the same singer… just with slightly different moods. It’s a revolutionary thing. More than anything else, Adiam shows her complexity here. She’s human. We’re all human. It’s okay for us to be human for a while.