Angels on my side


By Aameet Ekram


When people think of the pop artist Rick Astley, they think of his first single and most popular song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Though, contrary to what many think, Rick Astley has made other songs since his 1987 single, alongside ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ in his first album, ‘Whenever You Need Somebody’, or afterwards, with songs like ‘Cry for Help’. One of his latest songs to get some measure of popularity is ‘Angels on my Side’, released first in the UK in May 2016, one month before it comes out to the rest of the world with his album ‘50’, on June.

The album ‘50’ contains multiple songs, with titles such as ‘Keep Singing’, and ‘Dance’. Though, ‘Angels on my Side’, which is the second song in the album, proves to become the second-most popular number of this album, charting in Belgium at 4th place after it is released. The song itself becomes quite recognised in some areas, though it is extremely far from reaching the popularity and recognition that ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has managed to attain.

The song starts out with series of piano chords with a synth bass underneath it, setting the tone for the beginning of the song, an ambient, slow intro; though, this is quickly succeeded by a more pop-like tune, decreasing the ambience by the second verse. Despite this change, the rich, unique voice of Rick Astley stays constant within the song, him singing out the lyrics under a consistent beat, and the constant sound of piano chords playing underneath. Though there is not much variation within the song as a whole, it makes up by making what plays very appealing to hear, and the fullness of the voices within the song. In essence, most of the song, and the direction it goes, are controlled by Rick Astley’s singing.

The genre of this song is pop, yet it wildly differs from any pop song from any decade, even to other pop songs made by Rick Astley throughout his musical career. The constant beat, bass, and way the piano is played within the song differ from the style that many pop songs take. Rick Astley has mixed his preferred song style, and pinched it with a fresh and modern take to create ‘Angels on my Side’, something completely different from what has already been made, yet quite familiar to the styles of some other pop songs that have been made over the history of music.

Closer to the end, it begins to quiet down a bit, before ending in absolute silence, never changing the pace at this stage. This makes the entire song flow continuously even a few seconds after it ends, maybe prompting you to listen to the song again, even immediately you heard it once. I know that it does for me, having listened to this song many times over, ever since I have found out about it, a few days after it had been released.


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