The soulful US singer-songwriter Aisha Badru has released her brand-new EP Transcendence. The EP follows her critically-acclaimed 2018 debut album Pendulum and takes the listener on a reflective journey.
The EP opens with Millennial which embraces the listener in the familiar sound of children playing and evokes images of summer days and playgrounds filled with children frolicking in the sun. The guitar strums gently, allowing the youthful chatter to remain audible and Badru’s husky vocal sets the scene. Dreaming big and hopes for the future are the themes of the track, touching on what Millennials are striving for but the track also acknowledges the difficulties faced by young people growing up in present times. “Now we fill our backpacks up with clothes, buy a ticket to Mexico.” Travel, seeing the world, gaining independence and breaking free of the 9 to 5 grind are visions held by many young people but everything comes at a price. They lyrics are uplifting but also incredibly poignant especially on lines such as “This is the dawning of our lives, but we’re in debt up to our eyes” which alludes to the crippling student debts faced by so many Millennials.
Forest Green is another acoustic guitar-led track with Badru’s breathy vocal singing lyrics right from the heart. It’s a very personal track about the pressures of the outside world and how words and actions of others can have a deep effect. “My skin grew calloused and rough, built up by the voices that said I wasn’t enough” is a line that many can probably relate to when you think how outside stimuli such as social media can negatively impact on people’s self-esteem. But the closing line “And I run through the fields dressed in white, unstained by the poison that leaks from our mind” ends the track on a positive note.
Water opens with subtle running water droplets and pared back guitars reminiscent of The XX. The strings come to the fore during the chorus of “people are water, let them, let it breathe, let it leave.” It’s a track about letting go, following your path and not letting anyone else guide your decisions. Sometimes we have to put our trust in the unknown “People are water they need to be free, they need to explore more what they want to be.”
Love Doesn’t Fade showcases Badru’s vocal range and once again her incredible lyrical ability. The electric guitars coupled with the acoustic strums are breathtaking and the lyrics from the heart: “When you first looked in my eyes, I was mesmerised it’s like I met you in another life.” It’s a standout on the EP and makes you look at love and life from a different perspective.
Final track Soil’s Daughter opens with deep, haunting harmonies before Badru’s unique gravelly vocal sweeps them away. The track is an ode to the planet we live on and Badru’s own passionate cry for us to ignite change. The lyrics are as deep as the Earth’s soil and Badru’s drive for change is clear when she sings “although I look like my father, my roots extend much farther… and if we don’t form a band of brothers our strength will remain uncovered.” Badru is using her voice as a weapon and to declare that we must come together collectively to bring change to the world that we all share the same roots to.
Transcendence is a beautifully crafted EP with lyrics that touch on some very real and wide-ranging issues and that will be relatable for so many listeners: themes of growing up, social media pressures, taking a leap of faith in life, deep love and our relationship with the planet. Speaking of the EP Badru said “I knew I wanted it to be acoustic. I wanted it to be a bit more intimate, so my lyrics could really take centre stage” and that they most certainly do.
Transcendence is out now. Find out more about Aisha Badru here and have a listen to Love Doesn’t Fade below.