Album Review: Crush EP – Ravyn Lenae

By Kiera Jones

This term, Xtreme Radio is proud to present our featured presenter reviews. Each week, a new presenter will show their music taste through an album review and a featured artist article. This week’s articles come from Station Manager Kiera Jones. Here, she introduces you to the amazing vocal talents of Ravyn Lenae, through her latest EP Crush.

Young R&B artists are really having a moment right now, and the latest new voice to be catapulted onto the scene is that of 19 year old Chicago artist Ravyn Lenae. Having gained attention through her collaborations with artists such as Noname, and touring with the incredible SZA, Ravyn’s latest EP Crush shows a mature, evolved artist on her way to the top. Produced by the equally talented Steve Lacy, and featuring his guitar and vocals, Crush gives us a snapshot of a wonderful artistic collaboration.

The EP opens with the extremely funky tune ‘Sticky’. This song was first released back in December, creating a lot of interest for the upcoming work that would be be exhibited on Crush. ‘Sticky’ has an irresistible beat, and echoes a 70s era disco; an aesthetic capitalised upon on the music video, which features Lenae sensually dancing in a low-lit disco room. Ravyn has described Crush as a little more “sexy and feminine” than her earlier work, and opening the EP with ‘Sticky’ certainly sets a mature tone for the rest of the tracks. For example, the track ‘The Night Song’ is cool and slow, featuring a beautiful bassline, evocative of a slow-dance with a crush.

‘The Night Song’ also showcases Lenae’s vocal acrobatics, a highlight of the EP. Throughout the songs, the listener is treated to her gorgeous vocal range, which has drawn comparisons with artists such as Janelle Monae and Solange from fans. Her voice dances through the second track, ‘Closer (Ode 2 U)’, and harmonises with Steve Lacy’s vocals on the two songs he features on (‘Computer Luv’ and ‘4 Leaf Clover’). Lacy’s features add the perfect final element to this project, complementing Lenae’s angelic tone and adding to the feeling of intimacy that pervades the EP.

For such a young pair of collaborators, the work of the two 19 year olds on Crush is extremely polished and sophisticated. Steve Lacy’s production and features combined with Ravyn Lenae’s vocal skills has created an EP that demonstrates a masterclass in collaboration. My only issue? There isn’t enough! At just 6 songs long, and 16 minutes, Crush leaves you hungry for more of this duo’s funk revival. Keep an eye out for Ravyn Lenae this year, because if this EP is anything to go by then she has an incredible career ahead of her!

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Kiera Jones is a 3rd Year Classical Civilisation student, and Station Manager of Xtreme Radio

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