Rae ‘Rae’ted


Ashlyn Rae Wilson, aka Ashe, released her secondary album Rae on October 14th, 2022; and it is safe to say that it did not meet expectations. Ashe grew up in San Jose, California and began attending piano and vocal lessons at the age of eight, later graduating from Berklee College in 2015. She credits her grandfather for introducing her to the likes of Bob Dylan and The Beatles which has had a large influence on her career as a musician. Ashe released her debut album titled Ashlyn in 2021, which was led by the top 100 single “Moral of the Story”, featured in the popular Netflix movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. The song was later re-released with Niall Horan as a featured artist, drawing the attention of Horan’s large fanbase to the upcoming album. The former One Direction member later joined Ashe as a special guest during her 2021-22 world tour, The Faultline Tour, as did Finneas O’Connell 


Following the success of the first record, Ashe’s fans had high expectations for the second, which was announced on the 22nd of June – shortly after the end of her first tour, and shortly before the announcement of her second. The album announcement was accompanied by the release of her third single from the new record, “Angry Woman”, which followed the singles “Another Man’s Jeans” and “Hope You’re Not Happy”. The album consists of 14 tracks and a running time of 39:38. Ashe released seven singles prior to the album, which left very little room for imagination when it came to the remaining tracks. Rae includes one featured track titled “Love Is Letting Go” which features American actress and director, Diane Keaton, the song being about the pains and inevitability of a love burning out. 


Although Ashe must have had a reasonable explanation for why she wanted so many singles before the official album release, it should be acknowledged that this was not the smartest marketing decision. Although not everything is about sales, and Ashe has made it clear that the release and writing of Rae was for her own enjoyment and for the sheer joy of making music, which is honest and respectable, releasing half of the album prior to the official release almost entirely removes the excitement around the record. Album releases are always highly-anticipated by an artist’s fans, and by releasing so much of it beforehand, Rae missed out on most of the specialness of being heard for the first time. While it doesn’t dictate the album’s quality, this does invite many fans to be disappointed and frustrated with the album and it’s artist. 


The tracks sound almost exactly the same, most of which follow the same theme of lost love, heartbreak and becoming stronger and more independent as a result. The album was not terrible by any means; several tracks like “Love You Need”, “Loose Ends”, and “Hope You’re Not Happy” put a spotlight on Ashe’s incredible vocal range, and “Love You Need” contains a sweet reference to Ashlyn’s “Till Forever Falls Apart”. However, due to the similarity of the songs – both musically and lyrically – as well as the rapid release of singles, Ashe’s secondary album can be labeled as ‘not very special’.