Credit: Asa on Instagram
With every body of work Asa releases, she cements her place among a select cross-section of artists who lack the ability to release a bad project. In the span of a decade, the Paris-born crooner has released her eponymous ten-track debut Asa with which she quickly establishes herself as a master storyteller, armed solely with her guitar and bereft of any artist collaboration, thanks to classics like Jailer, Bibanke and Fire On The Mountain where she deftly mixes neo-soul, and afro-pop. Her second studio album Beautiful Imperfection, which she releases in 2010, opens with Why Can’t We where Asa proves you actually can improve on perfection and masterful storytelling. Collaborating with French composer Nicolas Mollard, Asa’s pen and voice on Beautiful Imperfection is nothing like her contemporaries’. On Bed Of Stone — the singer’s third studio album — Asa shows tremendous growth as a singer and a songwriter, and has the singer not just pushing at boundaries and boxes but existing outside them entirely.
Lucid — Asa’s fourth studio — repeats this; a stunning growth on the side of the artist, a cohesive album that deftly shifts through many themes, a masterful exploration of varying genres and Asa’s thrilling alto voice playing and hitting notes with stunning ease. Lucid has the boldness of Bed of Stone, and a cohesiveness that is closer to Beautiful Imperfection than any album in her discography.
On the opening track of Lucid, like on Bed of Stone, Asa tells a story of death but this time she is a helpless murderess proclaiming she has killed her lover and can no longer run. The Beginning — one of the singles released earlier — highlights Asa’s distinct approach to music: an expert lyricism that is driven home by her voice. Asa is confident in Good Thing, telling her lover ‘i am too fly for this, and i have no time for this’ and reminding them that she can and will leave. On Stay Tonight, Asa appeals to her lover to exist in the moment with her, reminding said lover of their mortality but more importantly their humanity. Don’t Let Me Go is as simple as it gets — on the almost three minute song, Asa heart-breakingly asks her lover- who seems to be considering it — to not let her go. The power of the ballad lies in how simple it is, and how it tugs on one her heart and memories, tapping into the very human part of us that just wants people to stay. You And Me is upbeat — as upbeat as an Asa song gets — and she taps into her hedonistic self as she asks her lover to do the same. Switching between English and the language of love, she makes the kind of promises a lover would make on a Sunday morning as you laid side by side.
Lucid hits the mark — occasionally too well. The album, expertly curated and with striking cohesiveness that leaves the songs bleeding easily into each other, showcases the growth the singer has experienced over the past five-years since her last album release. Lucid is a beautifully done album, lean in close you’ll hear a complete love story that wavers between, indifference, loss, Sunday morning bliss with your lover and everything in between — a perfect listen as we leave Hot Girl Summer.
Listen to the full album on Apple Music.
- I only mention my favorite songs on the album.