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Raye Drops Song of the Year: ‘Genesis.’

After the recent drop of her first full-length album, 'My 21st Century Blues,' Raye returns with "Genesis."

After the recent drop of her first full-length album, My 21st Century Blues, Raye returns with a new song, “Genesis.” Despite her previous masterpieces, this song shines for its passion, intertwining and unique personality. Indeed, the song is possibly one of her best works to date, proving Raye’s continuous improvement. But more: “Genesis.” is arguably a strong contender for the Song of the Year title!

Discover with us what makes this track unique and masterful and let us know your opinion in the comments!

“Genesis.” Act I, II & III

The song is constructed on three separate yet continuous acts. Each act differentiates in genre, style, flow and content perspective, introducing both an initial “talking stage,” some R&B and rap, and the final ’50s rockabilly and bluesy jazz.

Moreover, along genres, “Genesis.” crosses three completely different ambiences, ranging from the initial theatrical monologue, which resonates with the introduction of Raye’s first and only full-length album My 21st Century Blues‘ introductory song “Introduction,” as well as the more aggressive and contemporary second act, to the final edgy and classic conclusion, jumping back to the past to recreate the quality of the music of that time.

However different, the three sides mix perfectly, and although the difference from one to the other is crystal clear and neat, the flow never necessarily stops. The contrast of the initial evident desperation results and progresses into the super positivism of the final section. And if in the first act, she seems to be dealing with her own emotions, the final verse is a pure offer to the people. Raye in fact sings to the people with the music of the people, one created in the streets and fully brought back to the people as a form of gratitude to her fans, as well as a proof of her own humbling. This final act comes indeed as the “happily ever after” that Raye —and the listener—not only dream of, but know they will reach. 

Christianity and Religion: the End and Beginning in Metaphors

Raye new song Genesis
Taken from @raye Instagram

The richness in details explains the amount of time it took Raye to drop the song since the first moment she started teasing it. One of the core (not so) secret elements to investigate is the association of “Genesis.” with the concept of religion.

The Metaphor Behind the Title

As the title suggests, “Genesis.” is entirely based on the religious metaphor of birth. Or, in Raye’s case, rebirth. In fact, the song addresses concepts such as depression, substance abuse, addiction to phones and electronic devices, the need to feel loved and want to discover one’s worth, and many other concepts that seem to refer to the idea of “end” in terms of value, emotional contribution and, last but not least, conclusion. As a matter of fact, in the song, the key concept is not the mere description of feelings and problems, but rather the need to see the end of this situation in order to then be able to “see the light.”

In particular, the initial extreme depression that we find at the beginning of the story refers to a path of growth, hinting at the need for light. In first-act-Raye’s mind, taking her distance from immediate solutions such as phone or substances, saving her from going back to her past, and currently overcoming addictions is the current, grasping solution for the immediate situation she finds herself drowning in.

The Meaning of Seven

The number seven appears as a key element in the track. With a reference to the number of days it took Christianity’s God to create the world—the genesis indeed—the singer creates a song that lasts exactly seven minutes.

Moreover, the figure of the devil appears as well. As per usual, the black angel is used as a metaphor for darkness and the abyss Raye virtually keeps falling in. The figure appears initially in the first act, in the verse:

Curtains closed, bed bound, amphetamines
Mmm, and this devil on my shoulder, man, I’m tryna to shake him off

The figure appears once again in the second act in the line.

I see a sad little sinner in the mirror
The devil works hard like my liver
I don’t wanna be alive, but I don’t wanna die
A fistful of pills, you’re a nobody

The word appears for a grand total of six times, which is, infamously, the number of the devil, marking once again Raye’s attention to details in the creation of “Genesis.”

Raye 'My 21st Century Blues'
Raye ‘My 21st Century Blues’

“The Only Thing Which Darkness Cannot Coexist is Light”

In opposition to the devil and its dark connotations impersonating substance abuse, self hatred and depression, is the light, a core and recurring element throughout the entire work. In fact, the song’s title is quickly explained in the line, “The only thing which darkness cannot coexist is the light.”

Being present in both the three sections, light is the glue that keeps the three acts together, defining a sort of plot that starts, develops and finally resolves in a message of hope, self trust and improvement.

Let there be light

References and Self-Quotes

The lyricism portrays not only a detailed imagery of her current state of mind, but also a comparison with her previous emotions. Multiple references to her previous work are in fact included. Besides offering a continuation of her music and style evolution leaning into a more jazzy and bluesy harmony, some lyrical efforts appear as well. There is one reference to her most famous work to date, “escapism.” (2022). The artist mentions she is “still just a heartbroke b****,” reformulating her previous

Just a heart broke b***&, high heels six inch
In the back of the nightclub, sippin’ champagne

In this way, the artist seems to want to recollect memories and emotions, going back to her past to create her new self, and starting from a vivid and clear connection with her old self.

In addition, other clear elements of reconnection appear in the title, where the period at the end follows the format chosen for her previous releases. Once again, the continuation of her work seems to be the key reason behind this choice.

What Makes “Genesis.” Great

Besides the production and rich metaphors behind the song, the thing that truly makes this song a powerhouse is Raye herself. The artist’s voice is incredibly cured, offering the highest skills, such as vibratos, a meticulous scat and angelic harmonizations.

In addition, great visualization and storytelling allow us to identify not only with her, but with her mind. To do this, Raye uses wonderful lyrics in line with the image she wants to represent, as well as singing devices to emphasize specific traits of herself and her condition and literally give life to the painful, overwhelming and arguably invincible thoughts in her mind.

Behind great lyricism is a great portrayal of its meaning. Raye commits to several artsy stylistic choices, such as going higher in certain points of the song where she mentions her demons talking. There, she decides to raise her voice and scratch a disk in the background to give these demons the narrator’s voice.

“it is so much more than just a song”

Raye new song Genesis
Taken from @raye Instagram

After the release, Raye went on her social media and shared an open-hearted reflection on her work on “Genesis.”

“it kind of hurts a bit to call this piece of music a ‘single’ because it is so much more than just a song to me.
This song is a 7 minute labour of love I have been working on since 2022, I have chipped away at, scrutinised, replaced, redone, passionately sculpted this song to become what you will hear in 7 days.

There is a Nina Simone quote which is everything to me,
‘it is an artists duty to reflect the times’ and the best way I believe I can try to do this is through my art, and I have tried my utmost to do so inside this song. Inside my dear Genesis.”

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