Ali Milner - I Dare You
2009, Ali Milner
Vancouver, British Columbia’s Ali Milner is making quite a name for herself, surfing the pipeline between the genres of pop and jazz. With a pure voice that could brighten even the darkest day, Milner enthralls with her voice while engaging listeners with a story-telling style that is intelligent and artful. Milner got her start performing with the Vancouver Children’s Choir and has studied at the Berklee College Of Music. In 2009, Milner released her debut album, I Dare You. The album has earned Milner significant critical praise, and was named the Best Adult Contemporary Album at the10th Annual Independent Music Awards. That doesn’t tell you the whole story however.
I Dare You opens with "Crystal Clear", a brilliant musical soliloquy from one used to playing second fiddle to her best friend for suitors. Milner uses her warm, sultry, soulful alto voice to bring a great piece of songwriting to life. "I Wanna Be Loved By You" blends reggae and pop in a memorable turn full of melody and Milner's distinctive voice. "I Lost My Diamond" is a classic pop number couched in an upbeat arrangement. Heartbreak is the order of the day, as Milner uses jewelry as an allegory for love lost. "Secret To Tell" is a pop crush song with Americana elements that manages to be catchy and reserved at the same time. Milner's voice is amazing; she could sing the square root of pie to one hundred decimal places and people would line up to listen.
"I Dare You" is an unusually frank entreaty to love Milner that heartfelt and without affectation. Such brutal honesty in pop music is unusual unless it’s intended to cruel, and Milner handles it all as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "Gonna Dance" is catchy pop that's part 1950's rock n roll and part Motown. You won't be able to resist dancing along if you have a pulse. Milner gets a bit esoteric with "Portrait Of Dorian Grey", an intelligent and infectious piano-driven pop number that reminds you just how deep Milner is as an artist. "I Can't Wait Forever" sways with the push-pull of heart vs. head in romantic affairs. Milner's voice is so rich and beautiful you'll want to bottle it and sell it, or more likely save it for yourself.
"Breakaway" is a solid song made better by the artist performing it, while "Don't Forget To Call" is wonderfully catchy and fun pop music at its best. Milner gets dreamy with the 1970's-style AM radio pop of "Day By Day", with a positive vibe and pleasingly lyric sound. I Dare You bows with "Can't Change This Girl", a soulful declaration of self that's unforgettable.
After listening to Ali Milner's I Dare You, you'll wonder how someone so good stayed out of the public spotlight for so long. In this Indie music day and age, Ali Milner is a small fish in a world of small fish, but her songwriting and voice should place her near the pinnacle of pop music. I Dare You is brilliant, a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)