Never one to be comfortable in complacency, SoCal veteran artist and producer Ariano is back with his newest project, Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon, which sees the artist introducing his fans to a new sound and vibe. The 16-song album is sonically inverse from the heavy, hip-hop aggression of 2020’s America the Anxious, taking an unexpected turn towards a more upbeat rock, guitar-driven sound. Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon is Ariano’s most sincere and up-tempo project that he has ever released, tapping into his characteristic songwriting style that is both introspective and brutally honest.
But Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon is not the album Ariano had intended to release this year. He had a different version on the horizon, something more akin to America the Anxious. But the world kept changing, negativity strengthened its grip on society, and Covid pushed the album release back. In the midst of all the chaos, Ariano made a conscious choice to bring more light into his art and re-created the entire album. The result is a project that purposefully forgoes rapping yet stays true to his hip-hop roots while showcasing where Ariano is musically as an artist/producer. Shoot for the Sun, Sleep With the Moon weaves a solid theme of desperately missing people you love while trying to process devastating losses from a distance, while at the same time trying to figure yourself out in the midst of rapid change.
Ariano’s intentions for Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon becomes clearer with every track that plays. His sentimental lead single, “When You’re Not Around,” and emotive “See You Soon” are ballad-esque tracks about losing yourself without the presence of the people who ground you. Interspersed amongst the slow-paced tracks are hard-hitting and assertive tracks like “Bumped My Head,” “Heaven’s Door” and “Stole My Light,” a track about coming to terms with a friend who chooses vices over love.
Ariano’s quest to keep Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon a pure representation of where his musically in his career meant that he intentionally kept any features to a minimum. Only two features, both female artists, appear on the album on some moody and seductive tracks. Brooklyn’s Jessie Davis lends her ethereal vocals to “Body Art,” while LA’s own Latin American hip-hop prodigy, Gavlyn, drops verses on “Third Degree,” the only track on the album to have a true hip-hop feel.
On an album so full of impassioned lyrics and immersive production, two songs seem to stand out on the project; the 80’s-inspired “Better Days,” which takes Ariano’s art to a place he has never been before and the provocative “Danger,” an animalistic track that will undoubtedly make your body move.
Ariano flexes his production muscles on 15 out of the 16 tracks on the album, once again showcasing his capacity for crafting engaging and catchy music that also carries a message. His long-time musical partner LDontheCut co-produced “Heaven’s Door” and “Love You Anyway,” while the lone track on Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon not produced by Ariano is “Stole My Light;” SoCal fixture N3utron brought this one to life.
Ariano’s unmistakable passion and energy are present in every bit of music he has created and those qualities are more evident on Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon than on any previous project. Arguably the best album he has released to date, Shoot at the Sun, Sleep With the Moon is a testament to Ariano’s innate talent and ability to create a body of work that connects with listeners on profound levels and proof that he is only now hitting his prime.