In Review: Ade - Midnight Pizza

New York City’s freshest musical maverick Ade, is truly a boundary-pusher. A remarkably innovative debut album, ‘Midnight Pizza’ solidly establishes itself as a multi-faceted feast of genre-bending magic. With elements of the eccentric and intellectual, Ade is a singer/songwriter whose know-how allows him to bring together the strangest of sounds, executing his vision with clarity and edge thanks to his skills as a producer.

Drawing on years of listening to a fascinating mix of artists (from Beck and Bjork, to Dr. Dre and the Backstreet Boys), Ade’s creative flair has long been channelled into his various musical projects. ‘Midnight Pizza’ is the culmination of half a decade of writing: gliding through the very formative years of early adulthood and owing to the experiences that came with it.

Abruptly opening with ‘The City’, a track released as the album’s teaser, we’re thrust into a cinematic first look into the workings of Ade’s mind. It’s hazy and often abstract, yet gorgeously vivid. The track has enough room to get comfortable in its confident placement as album opener. It feels easy to become entranced by its wonderfully blurry layers of electronic wizardry, but the abrupt ending into the next song ignites a sense of intrigue regarding the remainder of the album. A fun and optimistic energy continues throughout ‘Happy Birthday’, with playful samples of youthful voices delicately placed in the quieter moments. Confident vocals echo from ear to ear as synths blare on—there’s a lot going on, but no moment is lost to the noise. Ade harnesses an incredibly complex use of his voice and maintains a satisfying balance of chaos and calm, which furthers the enjoyability of the whole record. ‘Another Weekend’ runs with this in its exciting, dancy percussion efforts and unexpected hypnotising techno undertone. A self-described homebody, the lyrics express Ade’s all-too-relatable desires to revel in his apartment instead of going out (though he does admit to yearning for a good night out when lockdown is a distant memory).

Dramatic and slightly whimsical, ‘In The Alley’ takes us on a darker journey with peeps of woodwind cutting through a consistent and sombre bassy riff. If any part of ‘Midnight Pizza’ can be considered consistent, it’s the endlessly imaginative experimentation and danceability. ‘Die’ begins quaintly before a percussive burst of energy that leads us to its smooth and steady centre. Here Ade articulates (with gorgeous character and tone, unsurprisingly) another slightly nihilistic standpoint in his storytelling, but it’s bound to be cherished by the millennial generation as they relate to his retelling of the highs and lows of early adulthood.

Classic, nostalgic keys meet quirky lyricism in the already praised ‘Havin’ Fun With Pharaoh’— released in early March as a lead single to precede the full LP release. As a gorgeously vivid and eager creation of a psychedelic-tinted pop banger, Ade took inspiration from old voice memos to complete the piece. In listing the names of his friends, we’re invited to hear an unconventional but pretty special ode to fond memories and all those involved.

Beginning the record’s calm close, ‘Moving Slow’ draws on futuristic, spacey electronics to contrast its predominantly melancholic melody. The track boasts the most delicate vocals of the album, with subdued reflection emphasising Ade’s artistic range. Ingenious in his crafting, ending with titilar track ‘Midnight Pizza’ feels like a slow and gentle goodbye to a truly innovative album. Serenading the fragility of youth, Ade bids us farewell, tucking us into a little sanctuary of electronic harmony.

Straddling genres the way this album does is bold and risky, but here it’s accomplished with near-perfect conceptualisation and flawless production. To be released April 23rd via Trickwork, ‘Midnight Pizza’ is ready to broaden horizons and push boundaries. Bursting with conversational lyricism and larger than life personality, you’ll be glad to get to know Ade.