Creating the Soundtracks for Life

Stellar review of Bashiri Asad’s “Living the Dream (L.T.D.)” from SoulTracks.com

LivingTheDream_300x300Bashiri Asad – Living the Dream (L.T.D.)

http://www.soultracks.com/bashiri-asad-living-the-dream-review

Bashiri Asad was living the life of a cover artist when he heard the words that changed the direction of his career.  The Indianapolis based singer was between sets when a fan suggested that he sing original songs because listeners would take him more seriously.

Asad could have ignored that advice because there’s a line of thinking that vocalists performing anything from the Motown catalog will always have work. Asad, bless his soul, decided to take that bit of unsolicited advice and write original tunes. He has since released three projects, including last year’s EP The Space Between and his latest, Living the Dream.

We know that mainstream artists have tools available to them that can make the life of a recording artist somewhat less challenging than that faced by the indie artist. However, Asad wanted the creative and topical autonomy that comes with not being under contract with a label. And he puts that autonomy to good use onLiving the Dream.

Asad takes his music to places where mainstream R&B artists rarely tread these days.  “Monster” serves up a sociological evaluation of pain and deprivation that leads many young men to lives of violent crime. The upshot is that everything from parental mistakes to economic displacement to a poor educational system plays a hand in “creating another monster.” There are some who will not agree with the musical conclusion Asad makes on “Monster.” However, art at some point should compel us to seek answers to difficult questions.

Asad showplaces his storytelling abilities on “Longest Moment,” which tells the tale of the instant that spotting a lady in a club transforms a routine night on the town into something far more consequential. The next track “Dance With You,” a duet with Shinda Ewell, is a sequel moving the couple from the bar where they exchanged glances and hellos to the dance floor.  Asad noted in several interviews that he grew up on the music of 1970s and 80s era artists such as Donny Hathaway and Luther Vandross. “Dance With You” captures the sweet vocals, catchy melodies and romance that listeners of that time took for granted. The track has the feel of a Spinners tune.

Asad takes his listeners from the dance floor to the church house on the gospel influenced “Looking Back,” a high spirited track in which the vocalist longs for a time when the community seemed more connected. He also manages to reach back with a sense of nostalgia and regret for a totally different reason on “Broken,” a torch song in which the vocalist expresses his sole desire to reset the clock and repair a damaged relationship.

Bashiri Asad states that he wants to make you think and have some fun. He gets a truth in advertising star because Living The Dream makes you think and gets you on the dance floor for a little hip shaking some belly rubbing. And if Asad gets an A for effort, Living The Dream is a well-rounded project that deserves an A+ for results. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes