Adalita: Good Girl, Amazing Woman

Tomorrow’s just an outline of how we spent today . . .

Last night my beloved and I braved the unexpectedly wild weather to trek into the city and catch Adalita Srsen (formerly of Magic Dirt) touring her self-titled solo album. I’ve seen Magic Dirt perform a few times over the years and on each occasion — as with last night — I found myself initially startled by how physically slight Adalita seems. Because in my head she’s immense, tall and broad-shouldered and imposing. In my head, she towers. Then she starts to sing, and to coax those brash and powerful chords from her guitar, and she becomes exactly the woman I remember. And I fall in love all over again.

Something has caught me between here and the outside . . .

The show last night was amazing. Stark and strong and richly emotional, it was part tribute to Dean Turner — Magic Dirt bassist, best friend and co-producer of Adalita’s debut album, who died from cancer in 2009 — and part turning point. Because it was undoubtedly Adalita’s music — and possibly a large chunk of her soul as well — that was being showcased at The Toff. Standouts for me were “Perfection”, “Going Down”, “The Repairer” and “Good Girl” (with support act, Amaya Laucirica, providing accompaniment on vocals and acoustic guitar).

Oh look at my halo, it sits at my feet like a beautiful dog . . .

The songs from her new album are powerful, and personal, relying on little more than a guitar and Adalita’s distinctive vocals for impact. I’ve had it playing for most of the afternoon and don’t think I’ll be tiring of it any time soon. For such an essentially minimalist album, there are new depths and fresh barbs to be discovered with each listen. And, of course, each listen brings back images and memories of Adalita on stage last night: black-shadowed eyes and sharp chin tilted up to the mic, eloquent hands working her guitar for all it’s worth, that smile still a little nervous even after all these years rocking a crowd, and that voice, that voice, that voice.

Thank you, Adalita. May your star shine ever brighter.

Adalita

For the curious, Andrew Watt provides a fantastic review of Adalita, which does the album far better justice than my musically-challenged vocabulary ever could. And here’s the music video for Hot Air, the debut single. Enjoy.

3 Comments

  1. i bought the album on the weekend because i dug the single and i love her voice.

    but i have to say, i’ve found it really… bland. it feels like a soundtrack to a movie that i haven’t seen, but one without many tonal shifts. i want to like it, so i’m going to give a few more spins, but at the moment, i’m a bit on the downside of it, and that kind of saddens me.

    • That’s interesting, because I heard an interview with Adalita where she was talking about how she was thinking about the album as being more like a movie, or thinking about it more in cinematic terms. Something like that, I can’t remember her exact wording. I do remember that she cited the film “Paris, Texas” as the kind of visual mood she had in mind. So your comment about it being like a soundtrack might be spot on.

      I guess the movie I saw was Adalita’s gig. I hadn’t heard the album in full before that night, so it might be enhanced by having experienced it live? I don’t know. I do like the mood, though I can see how you might find it a bit same-same.

      • yeah, i just feel like there’s an internal reference for her to bring the whole thing together, but i’ve missed it. it’s a real shame, too, cause like i said, i love her voice.


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