This latest EP from the London-based singer/songwriter has some of the most honest and heartfelt lyrics, paired with a hip production that makes every element pop and properly shine. It’s a joy to listen to. Let’s find out more.
Aicha J is Aicha Jalloh. 20-years-old, born and bred in East London, she fluently recounts her personal experiences as a young woman in a bustling, youthful community. Refreshingly, Aicha doesn’t sing about the cool things. Not the parties, the expensive cars, or all the popular people she gets to hang out with.
Instead, she recalls what it felt like during some of the least glamorous, awkward, and conspicuous situations. An ex that fantasized about owning her, someone that persistently hit on her at a party when she was clearly not into it, and lying asleep alone at night thinking about how much her friends really care about her, wondering why her phone isn’t ringing all that often.
The lyrics don’t only discuss situations that are ungainly and difficult, she also does this with unmatched fluency. Her role is not at all acted, every word has been felt and is being told as if to a friend, and at some points, the thoughts are so vulnerable and personal that they sound like Aicha is speaking them to herself, as validation or closure.
Super Woman is an internal dialogue with a man she seems to have spotted in the street. From his confident stride and the spring in his step, she’s asking him to teach her how to be so confident and have no care about what people are thinking. Telling him to not be fooled by her collected and purposeful manner, as she’s a wreck on the inside, asking him to not underestimate her power to mess up the good things in her own life. The irony is not lost, as the man she just assumed is so strong and collected might be hiding behind a façade just like she’s doing.
This is an intensely smart bit of lyricism, as anybody who’s been in tune with their insecurities will tell you that the feeling of self-hatred and the automatic assumption of inferiority is just a part of the package. The music is incredibly warm. With an intimate, jazzy guitar and Aicha’s voice leading the way for most of the tune, before a simple bassline kicks in.
A guitar solo kicks in the later half wonderfully played and plotted against a packing of hushed, ethereal strings, and a clean guitar that plucks a well-hidden riff, as the bass picks up in dynamics.
Cool Girl is again an internal dialog. This time, with a dreadful ex who just wanted her to be his “cool girl”. She proceeds in telling him that she’s more than that, more than his female fantasy, and asks him why he has never seemed to make her a priority when she’s done everything she could, and how when she needed him most, he was always out with his “homies”. The lyrics are starkly honest and simple. Pure elegance. The music starts again with the singing and a guitar.
This time, the guitar is snappier, and the progressions are more fitting to the upbeat dynamic. The singing also features more motion, reaching a high falsetto before moving back down the scale during the same sentence. A beat is finally introduced in the later half, which plays gracefully alongside the bass in a soulful accompaniment that reaches a mild crescendo near the end. No Answer is the hardest song here.
With a wallowing composition, a soulful groove, and a snaking bassline, the words are pure insecurity torture. Aicha is basically imploring why her phone isn’t ringing, why her friends aren’t calling her back, and worst of all, why would they let the phone ring when she calls them. A tragic bridge asks if her loved ones are thinking about her when they’re out having fun if she’s even one of their loved ones, how would they act if she said she needed help, and why aren’t they saying anything to her, when she sees that they are online. That last one in particular will hit hard with anyone who’s been in an unfulfilling relationship in the digital age. I know it made me feel something.
The Game tells of an awkward situation at a party with a guy who’s persistently hitting on her when she just simply asked for his name. Telling him that she’s not playing this game with him and that if she loved herself more, she wouldn’t even have known him. The music is the most grand on the record. With airy strings, and a dramatic progression. The drums, bass, and guitar are at their most aggressive, with solid fills and overdriven tones.
Aicha J’s latest EP, day in the life, is easily a masterclass in arrangement and lyricism. Full to the brim with personal, heartfelt, and intimate stories that display Jalloh at her most vulnerable, which is bold and incredibly admirable. It’s a short listen that’s endlessly compelling, with great production and commendable, efficient performances, and it is incredibly easy to recommend.