‘Rae’ by Ashe: The Review
For those of you who don’t know her, Ashe is a Californian singer best known for the song ‘Moral of The Story’ and since she released the EP of the same name in 2019, she has risen to fame through her two albums, Ashlyn (released in May 2021) and Rae (released October 2022).
Rae’s Theme (0.38)
Another Man’s Jeans (2.45)
Hope You’re Not Happy (2.44)
Shower With My Clothes On (3.04)
Angry Woman (2.33)
Love You Need (3.15)
It Can’t Be You (3.04)
Loose Ends (4.03)
San Jose (3.17)
Love Is Letting Go feat. Diane Keaton (2.34)
Count On Me (3.39)
Fun While It Lasted (2.26)
Total Time: 39.33
The opener, ‘Rae’s Theme’ is a short and snappy instrumental that, from the outset, acts as a prelude.
The beginning of the album has a sex-positive message that can get lost between the bland, run-of-the-mill lyrical expression and the sincere. ‘Moral of The Story’ is gone - and not for the better. The new album seems to have lost the intricacy of up-and-coming and fallen victim to being a generic pop album.
The stark differences between Ashe’s EPs and debut album and ‘Rae’ is its sound and message. ‘The Rabbit Hole’ EP has undertones of psychedelia and the roaring ‘20s. ‘Moral of The Story’ EP drew inspiration from the artist’s divorce. ‘Ashlyn’ explores themes of loss. These themes made Ashe seem cutting-edge but ‘Rae’ discovers new love, a theme seemingly overworked in the music industry. The topic of finding yourself is noted but an underdeveloped ploy.
Some new stylistic advances leave a lot to be desired: the harmonica sounds insincere and is musically mismatched.
Diane Keaton’s cameo on ‘Love Is Letting Go’ is commercially beneficial but awkward on the ear.
Songs such as ‘Angry Woman’, ‘Love You Need’, ‘San Jose’ and ‘Fun While It Lasted’ are what this album depends upon.
‘San Jose’ has flairs of Latin and Jazz music, which is reflective of the Californian City, synonymous with Costa Rica's capital, as it has one of the largest jazz scenes in the US outside of New Orleans.
‘Fun While It Lasted’ is a farewell tune, similar to the last song in every musical. It is a show tune. The song clocks in at only 2 minutes 26 and is the sort of magic Ashe can produce, reminiscent of ‘Always’ and ‘Ryne’s Song’ from the previous album.
The album can’t be knocked for trying. It blends many different styles and despite limited success, there is definitely a song that will resonate with everyone. There is a journey and progression across this record. The beginning is pop, commercial and TikTok friendly. The middle is more open, emotionally-driven but can get lost. The end has more clarity, precision and appeals to original Ashe fans. On the whole, some songs miss the mark whilst others sound fresh and redeeming.
Last but not least, the trumpet is incredible. The joyous sound carried this album and adds an extra, unusual on an album of this calibre.
Written by Eleanor Hylton