Elevate Difference

Bad City

Saadi is in love with music. It's fun to guess where the loops and tracks come from on their debut album, Bad City. Their influences are far-ranging, and combine '70s dance, '80s synth, choir vocals, and traditional Arabic music.

The title track is a solid dance anthem. The song's companion remix is particularly hot, too. It evokes a busy cityscape inflected with tribal beats.

"Birds" reminds me of Blondie dancing to a slower tempo around her heart of glass. In "Pollen-Seeking Bees," I think the DJ stumbled upon an endearing piano piece and wanted to put it to use somehow. If this album is a dance party, then "Pollen-Seeking Bees" is the book-reading wallflower refusing beer at said party.

The final track is a cover of Bob Dylan's "Daddy You've Been On My Mind." This is not just another sober guest on this album, but a surprisingly somber one as well. This song is filled with choir vocals and heartfelt sentiment. Saadi's vocals seem to be pleading, eulogistic, or possibly both.

It is unclear who "Daddy" is to Saadi. Maybe it's her father, or a nickname for some other (presumably male) person in her life. I'm leaning towards it being her father, because she references to "the language of my father" in the title track. Regardless, Saadi's unique take on this often revisited classic made me feel both moved and empathetic.

Bad City is not a bad album. It's well mixed with interesting sources, floating vocals, and an overall smooth disposition. However, they're difficult to pigeonhole into a particular genre due to the diversity and disparateness of their influences and sound. Sometimes they make me want to dance; at other times, I ruminate with their hymns. I don't think Saadi wants to be limited by category or genre, although they do give the impression that they're still exploring their signature sound.

Written by: Jacquie Piasta, May 2nd 2010