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Serena Ryder

Is It O.K.

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Serena Ryder
Is It O.K.
(EMI)
Canadian songstress Serena Ryder is a vocal powerhouse. Is It O.K., her second album, asks a lot of internal and external questions. Ryder jumps all over the musical map, from the heartbreaking ballads “Hiding Place” and “Weak In The Knees,” to pop-masterpieces such as “Little Bit of Red” and “All For Love.”

Ryder was born to sing and she belts it out. She opens the record with “Sweeping The Ashes,” an ode to her own duality and heart’s exhaustion. The opening of “Blown Like The Wind” echoes Leonard Cohen’s heavy-handed poetics, drawing allusions to “television dreams” and backed by a rhythmic driving force. “What I Wanna Know” exhibits Ryder’s trademark husky, textured vocals. Ryder seems to be grappling with truth, love and loss.

Is It O.K. is a break-up album and a 13-track collection of slickly produced radio-friendly songs, some more convincing than others.

“Why Can’t I Love You” loses focus and comes across as trite, whereas closing track “Dark As The Black” is a worldly call to arms, rekindling the introspectiveness of Ryder’s earlier material. “Stumbling Over You” and the album’s title track are sure to make Stevie Nicks proud. To answer her initial question, no Serena, it’s not OK, it’s sublime.
---Shannon Webb-Campbell
categories: Coast pick,Canadian artist

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