Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Ashe – Moral of the Story

Aesop pop…


Kylo Nocom: A ballad speedrun. There’s hardly any build-up between where the awkward sad-twee bit ends and the claustrophobic all-caps FINNEAS bit begins. How am I supposed to deal with a quicker, conversational verse two if I’m still reeling from the trauma of hook one?

Alfred Soto: The sprechgesang acts as its own reward: she babbles about lawyers over piano tinkle. There are no morals. The story? Well. 

Olivia Rafferty: Whisper-pop by way of a Danny Elfman tribute concert is now a hallmark of Finneas O’Connell’s production style. No wonder half the YouTube comments on Ashe’s video are comparisons with O’Connell’s sister and collaborator, Billie Eilish. O’Connell’s macabre piano riff sets the scene, and where Eilish’s performances hit like heavy, slow rain, Ashe manages to conjure different weather on a similar landscape. The wavering vocals and words rushed-to-the-point-of-aching-lungs give a much airier performance. Despite this, Ashe still fails to cover ground that hasn’t been heavily trodden by her contemporaries, and this is partly down to O’Connell’s vehicle which seems to re-hash ideas and techniques used in his work with Billie Eilish.

Ian Mathers: At first it’s just so aggressively post-Lana Del Rey it’s hard to actually hear the song on its own merits, but it’s… kind of a banger? And “you can think that you’re in love when you’re really just in pain” (not to mention “mistakes get made”) isn’t exactly a new insight, but it’s also not one a lot of people have stopped needing to hear, you know? I can imagine this being a bit too arch/sultry/whatever for some, but I like that kind of flavouring on these basic truths, it turns out.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: I truly and deeply understand what Ashe is going for here. Divorce pop is one of the great traditions of the form, and Ashe’s talky style fits it well. But everything here put together is just so fucking goofy. She can’t seem to decide whether she wants melodrama or wry resignation — she sounds far more comfortable in the latter, but Finneas’s rote ballad production job drags her inexorably towards the former.

Tobi Tella: I appreciate the overflowing theatrical energy, and the production and vocal are definitely all in on the schtick here, but it’s just A Lot To Deal With. The spoken out-of-tempo section in the second verse breaks the already thin fairytale illusion, and even though there’s some arresting lyrics, the chorus expresses almost nothing. I look forward to hearing it at talent shows and coffeehouses til the end of time.

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