Subtle and riddled with a gentle guitar part behind a brooding lead vocal from Aditya Manggala, the new single “Ms. Reality” steps into intimate sonic territory right from the jump and stays there for the duration of its roughly three and a half minutes of playing time. Instead of exploring the depth of his songcraft via the conventionality of pop lyricism, Manggala seems intent on going a layer deeper than his peers are, using the guitar he slings over his shoulder as an extension of his vocal where so many have used it merely as a component of the backdrop. While this isn’t Hendrix-like virtuosity, it speaks to an instrumental savvy I want more of, and it all starts with pressing the play button on “Ms. Reality” this September.
The chorus is the linchpin holding together the boldest melodic elements in this track together, but I like that the song never sounds particularly hook-centric; largely because of the intensity with which Manggala is harmonizing with the instrumentation. His guitar is so much a part of the poetic value of this single that it’s often hard to distinguish where one end of the melodic ribbonry is starting and the other is trailing off into the mist, but this isn’t because of muddy production quality at all. It doesn’t get much crisper than the string play here, and all in all, I think that this is one of the more well-rounded and efficiently produced pop singles I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in the past couple of months.
On the instrumental front, this bassline and the percussion stood a good chance of getting cut out from center stage just on the strength of the singing and fretwork at the top of the mix, but nonetheless, their presence can be felt influencing the direction of the narrative around every twist and turn in “Ms. Reality.” While I had never listened to the music of Aditya Manggala before this year, I can tell that he’s got a deep respect for the medium he’s in and what he’s doing with it. If he didn’t, I don’t believe that we would be unearthing such a precise and direct performance in this single that we are this late summer season, and my gut says this isn’t going to be the last hit he submits in 2021.
“Ms. Reality” is more than a fun pop track that just about anyone who loves guitar-powered pop songwriting is going to fall in love with this September; it’s the introduction to Aditya Manggala you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. The emotional thrust of the percussion and the endless charisma of this young man’s voice account for one-half of the magic in this release, but more than this, it’s just the energy he affords the story being told from start to finish. You can tell that he’s the real deal and doesn’t care much for the posing that takes place to the right of him in pop today, and with any luck, he’ll make his way to the mainstream a lot sooner than he will later. Manggala is good for his genre, and his music is good for those who love pop in general.
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