Aaron Lee Tasjan: Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! (New West Records) Album Review

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

There shouldn’t be any doubt about who released this album. I think the title leaves little doubt as to who the artist is. I kid. Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan is Aaron’s fifth full length release and shows some serious growth related to recording, composing, and arranging. Although Aaron is known primarily as a live musician, and rightfully so, he is becoming very adept at working in the studio. Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! is a difficult album to describe as far as genres go. His influences are broad and you get little glimpses of those influences throughout the album. Some of the names that come to mind include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, T Rex, and Tom Petty. Aaron is able to use synthesis, or the combination of ideas and influences, to create something unique to him and his music. And it works extremely well.

On the track Up All Night, the Petty influence leaves an indelible mark throughout the entire song. The use of electronic processes is in full swing. Any additional knob twisting would have been excessive, but Aaron was able to strike the perfect balance between technology and the music. This is such a perfect pop song. Infectious melodies abound. Even some profound lyrics: “Broke up with my boyfriend to go out with my girlfriend. ‘Cause love is like, love is like, love is like that.”

Aaron proves that pop is not one dimensional and can change and morph depending on the instruments and the subject matter. Feminine Walk is a song that explores gender roles and sexuality. It does it smartly without being too overt. If you pay attention to the lyrics, it will reveal lots. Aaron throws multiple stories and vignettes in this number, similar to the Dylan style of weaving many plots in one song and somehow makes it work brilliantly.

Glam rock is clearly near and dear to Aaron’s heart. Dada Bois is a perfect representation of this genre. It has big, beautiful blasts of instrumentation and has the perfect mix of loud & soft and fast & slow. It also has a strong, harmony laden chorus that ties the song together in a perfect little holiday package. This package is made to be opened over and over again. The use of technology is present but again adds to the song and really accentuates the vocals in a way not often heard. Aaron likes to experiment with psychedelics and this comes through the music. It is tastefully done and helps add finishing touches.

It is said that the third time is the charm, but on Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!, it is the fifth time. It is easy to hear the progression and maturity from the first release to this one. Aaron is clearly a student of writing, composing, and mixing. Like any great artist, he does not rest on his laurels and continues to challenge himself and push the envelope. It may be time to get a new envelope because this one is busting at the seams.

Listen and buy Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! here.

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