RAYE’s ‘Genesis’ Is Art In Triplicate

A deeply ambitious, deeply personal single...

On Friday morning, Raye surprised commuters at Selhurst Train Station in Croydon with an impromptu performance of her latest single, Genesis. This was not a conventional musical showcase, thanks to the unusual choice of venue, which also holds personal significance for the singer-songwriter, who hails from Croydon. The performance, accompanied by a live band, turned an ordinary morning into a memorable experience for passersby and set the stage for a deeper exploration of the song’s emotional and thematic layers.

‘Genesis’ stands out as a raw and emotive track, delving into the struggles and experiences of a young woman navigating a challenging world. Raye describes it as “a prayer and a plea and a cry for help,” reflecting her vulnerability and honesty. The lyrics tackle heavy themes such as mental health, body image, and the pervasive influence of social media. Raye’s candid exploration of these issues resonates with many listeners, offering a sense of shared experience.

The song opens with a spoken word verse accompanied by soulful harmonies, gradually building into a powerful orchestration that mirrors the intensity of the lyrics. Raye’s vocal delivery, whether singing or rapping over the Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins beat, is both delicate and strong, capturing the duality of her fragility and resilience. She sings about the pressures of societal expectations, her determination to ignore her ex, a battle for self-acceptance, and the relentless pursuit of her dreams in an often unforgiving industry. Through Genesis, Raye invites listeners into her world, sharing the highs and lows of her journey with an authenticity that is both refreshing and purposeful.

Genesis marks Raye’s first release since her critically acclaimed debut album, ‘My 21st Century Blues’. This album, which debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart and earned a record-breaking number of BRIT Awards in a single night, established independent artist Raye as a formidable force in the music industry. Her unique blend of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop, coupled with introspective and relatable lyrics, has garnered her a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim.

With Genesis, Raye continues to evolve her sound and artistry. The seven-minute single is structured in three parts, each segment moving between genres while exploring different facets of her personal and professional life. The first part addresses the external pressures of social media along with the internal confidence issues she faces. The second section delves into the singer’s struggles with depression and anxiety, including a personal reflection on how she has previously coped during trying times. The final segment shifts to a broader commentary on the state of the world, touching on social issues, including a heartfelt shoutout to the NHS.

This song not only showcases Raye’s continued growth as an artist but also her willingness to push boundaries and tackle complex topics. By blending personal narratives with broader societal commentary, she creates a multifaceted track that is both thought-provoking and, in her words, “deeply personal”.

Genesis is more than just a new single from Raye; it is a testament to her artistic growth and personal resilience. The song’s emotional depth and thematic richness, combined with the unique launch at a train station in Croydon, make it a standout release.

8/10

Words: Sophie Harman

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