A review of “on reflection” – Aya bleu

On reflection by Aya Bleu – the song I have been awarded the opportunity to listen to, before it’s official release. With the prospect of reviewing a new song on the horizon, I began mentally preparing myself. I chose to do this by avoiding listening to any previous tracks by Aya and avoiding her social media. I did the above with the hopes of being able to separate the artist from her artistry.

The biggest motivator behind my choosing this approach, was the want to either appreciate or disapprove of the track, and the track alone as opposed to being enveloped or being swayed by opinions of Aya’s aesthetics or Aya’s previous musical achievements. I was also very conscious of the fact that I may have been lending too much thought to the listening process and that regardless of the different variables, I would either like the song or oppose it.

As my solo listening party drew near, I pondered between listening to ‘On Reflection’ through headphones, or through speakers. I settled for the latter and playing on my speakers the unmistakeable base coupled with Aya’s rich and velvety voice came cascading through. A few moments into the melody, I was already impressed by both her vocal range and vocal ability, possessing none myself, I mused inwardly at how much auto tune a track produced by myself would require; and I noted hearing a rawness in Aya’s voice which indicated to me, that she in comparison required very little. I felt immediate relief to be reviewing an artist with undisputable talent, and with the security of this in mind I was able to delve into the themes explored in the song.

An R&B track, an initial thought of mine was that the topic of choice was a safe bet, choosing to go with the all too familiar theme of heartbreak, melancholy or sorrow affiliated with matters of the heart; I was certain I already knew the narrative of the track. And so, without even realising, I began to populate the different scenarios that myself and other listeners would perhaps be invited to visualise in this sonic story told by Miss Bleu. I inwardly implored there to be something edgy about this track and was surely pricked by the fragments of emotional broken glass Aya provided at 1:02. Aya deliciously has provided her listeners with the ability in being able to relate to her woe, with the references to the all to familiarity of feeling inadequate at the hand of social media.

Throughout the initial verse of the song, we are unaware if the partnership Aya refers to has come to a demise, but we are certain of her discontent and frustration with the situation by her use of profanity, which I personally approved of as it gave the track a feel of authenticity. In the vocal break Aya provides starting 1:43, I wondered less whether these scenarios had taken place for Aya and I began to consider my own relationships and how I had romanticised certain defective behaviours.

The second verse then takes another daring risk by providing insight into her weaknesses and a likely start to her emotional shortcomings, I was brought back from my own thoughts and wonderments and I began to consider Aya as an individual, as a woman. Aya Bleu, talented and had suggested in this track that she was self-aware! This was my thought process as the artist and the artistry that I had initially tried to separate, undisputedly began to merge. Just in case Aya’s self-awareness is missed, she reaffirms it, by repeating “Daddy never was around, so I never knew quite how to be loved”. Daddy issues a theme concurrent with problematic female behaviours, a theme silently opposed by women as a result. A theme embraced by Aya –

At 2:33 is when the true pang to check Aya’s social media set in, to scour through interviews that she’d possibly given to further gain insight into her character. This was due to the fact that I was able to identify with the line “on reflection I was craving for affection and attention because I cannot stand rejection from you” – with this line I wondered what her star sign might be and inwardly hoped we bore the same sign in common. This line however further alluded to whether or not the relationship with the antagonist of this track had been terminated and just like that I was reduced to exploring my own inability to terminate a faulty romantic situation, being similarly hooked on that same addiction to attention referenced by Miss Bleu. I began to feel somewhat subdue, as I felt the shift from Aya Blue describing her personal circumstance, to berating myself for the handling of my own. I thought how magnificent that we have been united in this way – but was subtly reminded that though being inconvenienced by a person we held to high esteem, was something we had in common, the discomfort being chorused again at 2:51 remained.

The cyclical theme of disappointment is revisited and reaffirmed no sight of upliftment just yet at 3:31. But alas our answer has been provided to us, Aya sings at 3:43 “shouldn’t have been there, shouldn’t have done that – need to fall back from you”. This romantic agreement between Aya and the person described is yet to be broken, but as she ponders on mistakes she’s made, she comes to the revolve a break must come about.

As the track ends, with the theme of ‘reflecting’ being reinforced, a short luscious serenade is provided, which soothes and calms the emotional gashes, her remedies forced open – for myself at least, the track closes. I feel exposed and an active retraction of the strength I had to “fall back” as it were from my own romantical antagonist, slips away – wanting so fiercely to feel reinforced and incombustible once again, I pressed replay.


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