There are these artists in your life you immediately have a song in your mind when you think of them. For me, this is valid for Rick Astley – I just cannot stop think about Never Gonna Give You Up. The song has been released more than 36 years ago. The more, I was curious when I received access to Are We There Yet?, the 2023 album of the British artist. It has been released on 13th October 2023.
Rick Astley – About The Artist
Richard Paul Astley was born in Lancashire on 6th February 1966. He started a professional career as a musician in 1985. Rick Astley’s 1987 debut album has already been a huge success. Whenever You Need Somebody topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany was was a Top 3 in many other major markets. It was also successful in Canada (fourt time platinum) and the USA (double platinum). The basis for that success was the very first single release, Never Gonna Give You Up, which has been a massive global success. However, the other single releases, Whenever You Need Somebody, When I Fall in Love, Together Forever and It Would Take a Strong Straong Man all topped the charts in some of the major global music markets. Even though the following album Hold Me In Your Arms (1988) performed quite well, the following releases could not connect to that success. In the mid-1990’s, Astley went on a hiatus from music.
He came back in the early 2000’s. While only the 2005 album Portrait made a significant chart success (26th in the UK), he had a very successful release with the following album ten years later. 50, his seventh studio album overall, topped the UK charts when it was released in 2016. His latest album release has been Beautiful Life (2018). Astley is also working as a guest vocalist and rather frequently appears on major tour productions.
Rick Astley – Are We There Yet? – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 41 minutes.
1. Dippin My Feet
The first track Dipping My Feet is a nice pop track with an Americana touch. I like the flavor of soul and blues in this song. Very nice opener.
2. Letting Go
Letting Go is rather having a folk-pop touch. Similar to the song before, Rick Astley creates a nice, catching ease, which makes the song stay in your mind. The backing vocals are quite intense and sometimes a bit too much to me.
3. Golden Hour
The slow strumming guitars at the beginning of the album already tell you that Rick Astley is going for some more emotional experience in here. Especially once the chorus is starting, the Golden Hour turns into one of the most present tracks of the album.
4. Never Gonna Stop
Even though Rick Astley 2023 has much more soul in his songs,songs like Never Gonna Stop have a certain touch of his good, old listens. Luckily, he sounds much more mature three and a half decades later. This single release is a lovely listen, indeed.
5. Close (Your Shoes)
The groovy Close (Your Shoes) is one of the coolest sounds of Are We There Yet?. Again, Astley is very soulful and his present voice leads to a very present and good listen. However, I feel that the chorus has the potential to spread more magic.
6. High Enough
High Enough is another song with an Americana influence. You would not be too surprised if you found this one on a Springsteen album. But it works very well in the context of these songs as well.
7. Forever and More
Forever and More introduces swing elements to the album. Rick Astley masters this style as well, so that the album stays very entertaining. You just have to move to the vibes of this song, which is such a nice fun listening.
8. Driving Me Crazy
Especially in the chorus of Driving Me Crazy, Rick Astley almost feels to be grumpy. However, the verses with his crystal-clear vocals are such a great contrast. The composition feels rather simple at first sight, but it is a lovely one with a nice mid-tempo melody.
9. Maria Love
while some arrangements rather feel lean in this album, Rick Astley is going for a wide range in here. Especially a set of brass instruments is nicely driving the song, the percussion set is setting the right vibes. The backing choir adds another layer to this track. Very intense listen which is having a rather unique presence in this album.
10. Take Me Back to Your Place
The first notes of Take Me Back to Your Place feel a bit of dark. However, the tenth song more and more shows its friendly side. Still, the song is coming with a nice bass groove.
The eleventh song is a mid-tempo song with a very personal touch. A nice mid-tempo closer, which does not such a strong character as other listens in here.
12. Blue Sky
The title Blue Sky may sound like a rather happy ending of the album, but this piano song is coming with a dark touch, which is fading out Are We There Yet?.
Rick Astley – Are We There Yet? – Spotify
Here is Are We There Yet? on Spotify:
Rick Astley – Are We There Yet? – My View
Of course, Rick Astley 2023 is not Never Gonna Give You Up any more. There are still some pop song with a similar ease, but also but deeper, more thoughtful and also more saddening listens. The British touches different styles in here – and practically all of them are at least working out well. This finally turns Are We There Yet? into a really nice versatile listen.
Favorite Song: Golden Hour
Rick Astley – 2023 Concerts and 2024 Are We There Yet? Tour
Rick Astley is having a couple of UK gigs this year, before he is heading off to a 2024 European tour. The UK dates of the 2024 tour will be supported by the amazing Belinda Carlisle:
|Mo 16.10.2023||London (United Kingdom) – Electric Ballroom|
|Su 29.10.2023||Sheffield – The Leadmill (2 shows)|
|We 01.11.2023||London – Royal Albert Hall|
|Th 02.11.2023||London – Royal Albert Hall|
|Sa 25.11.2023||London – London Palladium (with Emeli Sande and Simply Red)|
|Th 22.02.2024||Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena|
|Fr 23.02.2024||Newcastle – Utilita Arena Newcastle|
|Sa 24.02.2024||Leeds – First Direct Arena|
|Mo 26.02.2024||Cardiff – Utilita Arena Cardiff|
|Tu 27.02.2024||Glasgow – OVO Hydro|
|Th 29.02.2024||Bournemouth – Bournemoth International Centre|
|Fr 01.03.2024||Birmingham – Resorts World Arena|
|Sa 02.03.2024||Manchester – AO Arena|
|Mo 04.03.2024||Belfast – The SSE Arena|
|Tu 05.03.2024||Dublin (Ireland) – 3Arena|
|Th 07.03.2024||Liverpool (United Kingdom) – M&S Bank Arena|
|Sa 09.03.2024||Cologne (Germany) – Palladium|
|Su 10.03.2024||Berlin – Columbiahalle|
|Tu 12.03.2024||Utrecht (Netherlands) – TivoliVredenburg|
|We 13.03.2024||Borgerhout (Belgium) – De Roma|
|Fr 15.03.2024||Hamburg (Germany) – Edel-Optics.de Arena|
|Sa 16.03.2024||Bochum – Ruhrcongress|
Media Reviews (Music Legends)
Here are all my postings related to American Airlines: