On Friday, talented vocal artist Ashe released her second studio album titled “Rae.” Before listening to the EP, I was only familiar with the single she was featured on by Billie Eilish’s brother, FINNEAS, titled “Till Forever Falls Apart.” Ashe gives a beautiful, goosebump-inducing performance in that song which was only released just last year, thus building up a healthy dose of excitement for the release of “Rae.”
There is only one song on the album featuring a guest artist: Diane Keaton in “Love Is Letting Go,” which says a lot about Ashe’s solo role within the EP. This is a noble effort on Ashe’s part, as she appears to showcase her musical skills in an attempt to elevate to a higher status within the public eye. This goal was made clear in her song choices and the heart felt through her music, which sometimes worked in her favor, but not with every track.
“Rae” opens with an interlude of musical instruments, reminiscent of the jazz era, that are then echoed throughout many of its subsequent tracks. The following song, “Another Man’s Jeans,” was released a few months prior to the album, and I suspect that it’s probably the most popular song.
Through her music, Ashe touches upon mixed feelings about love with the right person and female empowerment. The genre choice of pop allows her great flexibility to sing with excitement and volume, as well as somber and sadness when paired with slower melodies. Some of the more optimistic tracks include “Another Man’s Jeans” and “omw,” along with more heartfelt songs such as “Love You Need” and “Fun While It Lasted.” My personal favorite is a chill mix “San Jose,” which charmingly intertwines a soothing use of the saxophone into an ever-intensifying work of music.
However, there were also some songs that I felt were too straightforward and lacked creativity. Particularly “Angry Woman” and “Count On Me,” which sounded as if Ashe and the producers were focused more on the hook of the chorus rather than creating a decent song. They were ultimately the commercial jingle singles of the album, so you might find them getting stuck in your head whether you like it or not.
The album cover consists of Ashe dressed in an alluring white outfit, leaned back on a red chair with a red background. This image perfectly encapsulates the vibe the album is shooting for, matching the tone of almost every song on the track list in one way or another.
Overall, I’d go so far as to recommend “Rae” to anyone unfamiliar with Ashe’s discography. While you may notice components of her music that you like and/or dislike, indulging in new artists can be incredibly fun. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Ashe’s music has aspects of her own signature style while still sounding similar to other popular songs.