Inspired by the timeless sounds of the '60s along with his extensive travels through America's heartland, Rick Astley continues his remarkable career resurgence with Are We There Yet?
No longer simply a one-hit wonder or the punchline of being “Rick rolled,” Rick Astley is enjoying a soaring second life of his career that began with the UK chart-topping 50 back in 2016, after a decade-long hiatus.
The origins of Are We There Yet? date back to the lockdown of 2020, but its true spirit was ignited during Astley's 2022 summer stadium tour across North America with New Kids On The Block, Salt 'N' Pepa, and En Vogue. Traveling by bus, gazing at the endless roads stretching ahead, Astley found himself pondering the album's titular question, "are we there yet?" This phrase, laden with multiple meanings, encapsulates Rick's reflection on his musical ambitions, career trajectory, and the everlasting need for artistic exploration.
On tracks like "Dippin My Feet," the influence of America's heartland and Rick's love for American soul music shine through. Infusing a Stax Records twist into his signature style, Astley emphasizes, "It's definitely not country, but I've never twanged a guitar as much as I have in the past couple of months. Spending five months in America has re-tuned my ear a little bit." The result is an invigorating sound that pays homage to the roots of soul. The single "Never Gonna Stop" is a towering R&B ballad, showing Rick's belief that personal human connections can counteract the chaos prevailing in the world. It's testimony of his enduring faith in the power of intimate connections during these sometimes tumultuous times.
Consistent with his previous work, for Are We There Yet? Astley took on the roles of writer, producer, and performer, making the record entirely in his South-west London home studio. With minimal external assistance, he plays almost every instrument himself except for brass, keyboards, and some backing vocals, showcasing his surprisingly wide-ranging musical ability.
Are We There Yet? Is a new chapter for Rick Astley, written some 36 years after he first shot to fame with the era-defining hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up." At 57, the endearingly boyish Astley continues to turn haters into fans. Whether he’s sharing the stage with Foo Fighters, getting behind the drums and belting out a surprise cover of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell, ” or joining UK band Blossoms for an unforgettable tribute to the Smiths, Astley proves he’s no joke while getting the last laugh.