On her 3rd studio album, Asa elegantly showcases her mastery of the soul genre.
Album - Bed Of Stone
Artiste - Asa
Record Label - Naive (2014)
Duration- 47 minutes
Asa is pissed on her third album. Barely ten seconds in she let's a cuss word rip ("no more your freaking bullsh*t") on the album's opening track 'Dead Again'. This is very uncharacteristic of the singer. She is known for being soulful, emotional and introspective, but not angry enough to let expletives fly. What's wrong with her?
On 'Bed of Stone' Asa creates a story of an illegal immigrant in an European country who has been dumped by her lover. This is the major concept of the album, and Asa constructs a number of songs that fits right into the theme.
After blasting her former lover on the album opener where she calls him a 'fool' and 'devil', she continues with the Lucifer theme on 'Satan Be Gone'. It's a rousing black gospel track inspired by the Bible belt region in America. It's a no brainer that this song was penned for her ex.
The anger ebbs away, and Asa allows her emotions flow throughout the album. On the titular track, Asa is in her classic form- descriptive, emotional and soulful. She outlines the morning activities of the album's main character. It's the tale of an illegal immigrant who is facing hardship and racism. She works multiple jobs just to survive. The strain of the hard life takes a toll on her as she sings "What will tomorrow bring? Where is this world taking me? I don't know."
We find our songstress lonely ("Where do you go when you are by yourself?") on 'Moving On'. "A stranger came in and took my soul away" sings Asa on the beginning of the song. All by herself with no one to lean on she reveals how the breakup happened. "The deed has been done. My spirit is broken. He gave me no reason. He left me with questions" she sings. Instead of continuing in self-pity she decides to be resilient and keep moving on "I know I can't change the past, but as the river keeps flowing I will keep on moving on."
It's one thing to say you want to move on, it's another thing to actually do it. Asa portrays this well on 'Ife' where she is begging her former flame to return to her.
Love does come back for Asa, but not from who she is expecting. On 'The One That Never Comes' she sings about a friend who has fallen for her. Instead of loving him back, she warns him not to love her because she still has feelings for her ex who she is still waiting for. Deep down she is in love with her friend but she isn't ready to give herself to him. Instead she is waiting for the lover who treated her badly. The song has lines that portray the confusing theme of this song excellently. This song is one of the cornerstones of the album.
Love does finally come to Asa, and she too is as surprised as we the listeners- "So I locked my heart away. didn't need it anyway. Now I know differently. Over mountains, over seas, where I thought no man could reach, love you have found me." With haunting keys reminiscent of a James Bond theme song she sings that she has found love but is scared. After struggling with love on this song for a bit she embraces love like a bird embracing the morning sun as she triumphantly says "you've found me." It's a happy ending afterall.
There are some songs on this album that don't fit into the general theme but they are stellar nonetheless. 'Eyo' is a playful twist of the Eyo masquerade song with a nice of tint of soul.
Asa wrote majority of this album in Nashville, America so there are a lot of southern music styles on the album. One of such is 'Situation' which has jazzy keys and a Reggae undertone. This song comes from the conscious angle as she sings "Father, father hear us. Those who we trust have failed us." This song is about the frustration of the masses created by the inadequacies of the political class.
After going through the ups and downs of love, Asa becomes a counsellor on 'Shine Your Light' an urban track with a hard hitting baseline. "What's on your mind child, I will help you lift your worries" she sings. As a counsellor she preaches self-love and accepting yourself.
On her third album, Asa displays her mastery of conceptual song writing. Also like a seasoned pro she delivers an emotional body of work that is easy to listen too and beautiful enough to feel. Despite the album's title, 'Bed of Stone' is a comfortable and soothing experience.
3-Worth Checking Out