11 Songs, 39 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
59 Ratings

59 Ratings

jerrydwhite ,

Catchy Vienna Teng

On every album by Vienna Teng, you will find at least a song or two with memorable refrains, melodies that dance around in your head and give you the irresistible urge to sing along wherever you are. This fifth installment of her studio efforts brings us the same quality we've come to expect. Her lyrics are consistently full of thought-provoking narrative and honest self-examination. The music is warm, stimulating, at times dark, but almost always inviting the listener back again and again for further contemplation.

Nevertheless, Aims distinguishes itself. Not only does Teng explore a variety of new musical ideas on several tracks without the comfort and security of her lite FM piano accompaniments, but the "catchiness" of the songs permeates the entire album as well.

Go through the album once or twice just to see how many of the tunes stick in your memory almost instantly. This is a great thing for Vienna Teng, in this listener's humble opinion. Her music has always captured the hearts of her steady fan base. But this new collection of songs should garner a wider audience. Not that it will necessarily launch this established artist into some sort of super stardom (and I doubt she seeks anything like that anyway), but the benefit will be all for the new listener's heart, mind, and soul. And that is because Ms. Teng has not sacrificed one ounce of her poetic and artistic integrity. If anything, it has matured and grown deeper roots.

From beginning to end, the album is a synthesized work of art. The Hans Zimmer-like brass chords in "Level Up", the off-meter (Dave Brubeck?) rhythmic groove of "Close to Home", the almost impassively harmonized Hymn of Acxiom - these are just a few of the aesthetic highlights to be found in this very satisfying album. Highly recommended for fans and newcomers alike!

Wall-dog ,

Good Album - Not Her Best Work

Vienna Teng doesn't just have a beautiful voice; she has a hauntingly beautiful voice that resonates in your ears long after you have turned off her music. Her music is always deeply felt and well orchestrated. None of that changes on this album, except that the pop-feel of this work detracts from her voice enough that it loses it's haunting quality. This would be a better album had the producer left well enough alone. That said - the pop sound will likely appeal to a wider audience, so I certainly understand why it was produced that way..

If you love Vienna Teng as I do and have all her albums, buy this one too. If you don't have all her albums - start with her earlier works.

Edit - I'm not going to back off my previous comment. I really don't think a producer can improve Vienna Teng beyond making sure everything is mixed well. But I will say that the more I listen to her new album the more I like it. Even over-produced, it quickly grows on you. Vienna Teng is the biggest young talent in America today.

FredLI ,

Vienna reinvents herself musically, and scores.

In Aims, Vienna Teng gets up from the piano keyboard and embraces up tempos, synths, samples, and other electronica, drums, and even a hot disco vocal. On repeated listening you can trace the evolution from her earlier music, especially the last album, Inland Territory, but the immediate effect is a bracing gust of wind blowing the old away. Thematically, Aims is a reaction to Vienna's plunge into the world of environmental sustainability, but the songs, despite her usual lyrical intelligence, still manage to be compelling stories about people and relationships, whether Vienna is singing a creepy-gorgeous a cappella hymn from a marketing database or an ode to the Occupy protests over African beats. From the standpoint of a nearly-7-year follower of Vienna's music, I can only say that this is her best work, 11 short, urgent songs without a wasted note or a dip in quality from beginning to end.

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