Beige Records NYC artist and legendary performance artist, Joey Arias, has delighted audiences over the span of his five-decade-spanning career. With credits including Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, his X-rated puppet show, Arias With A Twist, and paving the way for RuPaul and the cultural acceptance of drag, Joey thrives in the world of avant-garde. And loving every second of it. The next evolution in Joey’s career is no exception, with the release of his first feature-length album, “Past Present Future”.
Much of “Past Present Future”’ was conceived during the pandemic in a three-week writing and improvisatory session at the legendary Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota (Nirvana, Soul Asylum, PJ Harvey, Beach House). Many of the tracks on the album originate from Joey’s early career, taking on a matured and reimagined form to reflect Joey’s current point-of-view. One specific example Joey provides includes ‘Up Last Night,’ originally an upbeat tune from Joey’s days of being pitched as a 15-year-old heartthrob in the Capitol Record signed band, Purlie. The current version forsakes teeny pop for unexpected, ominous fare.
“Past Present Future” certainly doesn’t lack groove, theatrics, and heart. The album kicks off with track ‘Otherside of Midnight’, opening with a lullaby-esq melody before diving into a synth-driven frenzy. Quite possibly a metaphor for Joey looking back at the innocence of infancy/childhood and how before you know it, years have gone by and you’re faced with adulthood. Considering how he approached the track “Up Last Night”, as mentioned in the last paragraph. The album continues on with the lead single ‘Your Science (Better Half)’, a theatrical ballad taking you inside Joey’s love fantasy. Appropriately followed by “Don’t Cry”, a song serving a message of moving forward after heartbreak. As Joey puts it “don’t cry, the pain is over”.
Other notable tracks include the acoustic-driven ‘Music and People’, as well as serving sensual energy ala Prince with ‘Tongue Talk’. And ‘Inside The Ocean’, providing waves of symphonic layers with lyrics about floating forward in life. The album concludes with ‘Eliot’s Coda’, an instrumental that is no less melancholic like the rest of the album. Serving as a bitter-sweet resolution to the journey that is “Past Present Future”.
In all honesty, every track on “Past Present Future” is notable in their own way. While being presented as a pop album, elements of jazz, funk, electronica, and musical theatre weave through it seamlessly. If there’s one constant on “Past Present Future”, it’s Joey’s honesty and vulnerability as he dives into the chapters of his life. Much like a theatrical performance where every scene tells his story, but with the delivery of this album. And we thank Joey for being unapologetically himself and showcasing what a truly multi-talented performer he is. If you have the chance to see him live, I would without hesitation.