EP Review: Learning To Love Again // Aisha Badru

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Benny Renee Photography

New York singer-songwriter Aisha Badru explores love, loss, and healing on new EP Learning To Love Again. Very much a release that does what it says on the tin, the five-song collection documents Badru’s journey from moving on from the end of a relationship, through looking inwards in search of self-love, to acceptance of the situation and looking forward to a new future.

Badru’s journey to loving again takes place both lyrically and aurally. The opening two songs occupy an indie-folk soundscape familiar to Badru, with fingerstyle guitars and floaty strings laying a bed down for her earthy voice to lie on.

‘Lazy River’ opens and exposes the EP’s themes with an acknowledgement of the personal scars left behind by a relationship’s end, while ‘Moving On’ continues this by looking at how these wounds affect the other party. Badru is endearingly frank and relatable on this opening salvo, juxtaposing her vulnerability and accountability for her actions with a proud display of her sonic and cultural roots – “I’m glad to see you’re finally moving on / Whoever thought Mandingo heart would take that long”.

The undoubted highlight and emotional crux of the EP is centrepiece ‘Inside’. A piano and strings-led number that beautifully transitions between the acoustic and electric halves of the EP, Badru affectingly searches for self-love in order to feel ready to give love to others once more. Her use of metaphor is exemplary, imploring herself to “Stop swimming in puddles when you are the ocean” – she is so much more than the insecurities that beset her, and acceptance of this will open her up to love again.

‘Path Of Least Resistance’ finds Badru in the natural progression from ‘Inside’ – now she feels ready to love again, can she return to the love that hurt her? Her whispered, sensual delivery belies both self-assuredness and apprehension, as if she knows that now either way she’d be fine. The cut is a compelling track that is infused with soul and R’n’B influences, taking Badru’s sound to new worlds that she equally sounds at home in.

Speaking of new worlds, ‘Move’ is an even more distant track from the folksy beginnings of the EP. And how appropriate – the meditative electronic dance hymn espouses the healing power of movement, and neatly brings Badru’s journey of growth and self-empowerment to a close, if just for now.

Learning To Love Again is an EP that sees Aisha Badru blossom and spread her wings, both as a person and as an artist. Adding soulful and dance-fueled petals to her indie-folk flower, Badru tells listeners a compelling and relatable story in five chapters that begs to be experienced front-to-back. As for what’s next for Badru, there’s no telling – but it’s certainly onwards and upwards from here.

Aisha Badru’s EP Learning To Love Again is available from this Friday 2 June.

Words by David Harrold


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