Rampway.org: November 2002, by Jeremy Evans

All That He Wants, and All That He Deserves: Ariel Aparicio’s “All I Wanted” and the State of Today’s Music

“I kinda want to be someone / I kinda wanna know someone / I kinda wanna know someone…” confesses Ariel Aparicio in “Hail to the Losers,” the opening track to his new release “All I Wanted.” And in a few years, he may get his wishes. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Aparicio definitely has the potential- and the training. In the mid 80’s hemoved to NYC to study music and audio engineering at New York University. While inNew York, he studied voice with Greg Drew, whose past students included Lenny Kravitz and Corey Glover.

But even with an impressive training, Aparicio seems to be living a little under his potential level. With tracks like “Hail to the Losers,” Aparicio’s voice meanders about the pitch until warming with a Bowie-like vibrato. And the songwriting at times can be a little sluggish, with sad, sweet lyrics that never quite seem to catch up to the sometimes-repetitive instrumentals.

Yet there are certainly some stars on the album. “Dreamer” positively soars, sitting somewhere between David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. Listen for the violin- that’s Tracy Bonham giving the album some much-needed lyricism. “Mi Corazon” may be a little late for the Latin Explosion of Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony, but it’s fusion of Latin traditionalism and a jam-band sense of fun may be enough to carry it higher on play lists without the benefit of a pop music trend movement.

And while much of the album is genuinely good, the question is whether a sound this golden can survive in an age where Avril Lavigne can be called punk and Michelle Branch is the most promising singer-songwriter we have. With songs like “Always the Bridesmaid,” Aparicio shows us what might have happened had sampling and synthesizers been available to Elton John, Bowie, or the Pretenders during their best days. Can a voice like Aparicio’s survive in this prepackaged pop age? After you hear tracks like “The Wild Ones,” a Beth Orton-esque track showing all the range and sensitivity that Aparicio is capable of, you’ll be praying that the answer is yes.

This album’s greatest chance of survival may be marketing it to the generation that walked out of John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” humming the songs without ever knowing what artists they were imitating. At times, listening to this album is like the first time you heard “Rent.” And before you roll your eyes, think back to the first time- before they did the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, before your high school chorus sang “Seasons of Love” at your graduation, before Justin freaking Timberlake signed on to the movie deal- the first time you heard it, when it was still the closest thing to underground that Broadway was ever gonna see and you felt a shiver go down your spine. Ariel Aparicio deserves a shot at all he wanted, but for those of you who care about knowing the artist’s name before either Carson Daly does or they slip into the unknown, act now.

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