It might be easy for some to deny Denai of her musical credibility given she’s 23. To put her off as an artist “still developing.” Though some bias might be present, I don’t believe any maturity is lost on this album. Furthermore, I think this album has solidified Moore confidently in her genre-free[dom]. It nurtures a particular stage of consciousness. It resonates in ways that take time to develop. I do not believe this album is anything short of a complete thought. It can be parsed, diced, meditated on, embraced, and yet and still not fully uncovered.
A knowing that you won't know everything.
A reflection of stage not age.
A conscious reveal of the subconsciousness.
A note to self.
A self care medley riddled in calm & complexity.
Finding out Moore's roots bear similarity to mine may have impacted a heightened elevation of my initial excitement. Either way, I've listened to Denai since her first project, Elsewhere. It was a melodic soundscape of tranquility. Real easy to love. In large part, this is what I expected from her sophomore album, We Used to Bloom, another easy to love complex riddle. This album elevated her as an artist whose ability to vocalize their subconscious rings loudly. Despite this, she doesn’t hold back from not having the answers to some of the questions she poses. With this album, Moore worked collaboratively with the women of #InBloom, an agency of Black women artists unapologetically creating space for their own. Like collectives such as In Bloom, this album charts new territory. It finagles its way through a beautiful narrative of a woman sure, yet extremely vulnerable in her short comings.
Subtleties on subtleties as the opening track was once in my opinion, subpar. Only to listen to it in the still of an isolated space and hearing many moments in the music composition I’d missed. As I grew to appreciate the composition, my appreciation for the writing also grew. Though it might not necessarily frame the album as surely sonically, it does so lyrically. I would also say Do They Care does a similar thing, but this time both sonically and lyrically. With wind chimes and the underlay of water running down a stream, the lyrics on this track also work in conjunction to the self awareness on Let it Happen. In many ways these two tracks are communicating. In Let it Happen, a more personal acknowledgment of coming to ease with being self is the guiding mantra. But by Do They Care, the song cues us into conversations around Black lives, the collective consciousness of struggle. Both song work to affirm, but within different contexts.
It’s hard for me to deny this album’s nod being a significant one for music in 2017. For falsely assumed limitations mentioned in the opening of this piece, it may not get the credit it deserves. Either way, Denai is making steads musically. She won’t go underestimated for much longer.©
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