There is an abundant strength within Tasha’s radically soft words.
On her debut LP, Alone at Last, the Chicago musician and poet places her entire being into a body of work that is both ambitious yet relaxed. Her words masterfully wrap themselves around each second, leaving treasures to be uncovered in the mind of the listener.
The narrative winds its way through self-care, feminism, love, race, and queerness without giving the listener more weight to carry. Tasha aptly described the album as a collection of “bed songs,” with each song enveloping the listener in a comforter of sound.
Within overwhelming darkness and fear, Alone at Last is an album of reflection, rest, and renewal. A nightlight bringing hope of a better tomorrow.
Standout tracks: “Take Care,” “A New Place,” “Kind of Love,” and “Lullaby”
The opening track, “Take Care,” is a spoken meditation, imploring us to believe in our own inner worlds. It serves as an introduction to a new kind of activism — one of defiant self-love and a vital need for tenderness.
“Take care of your little body... Take care and repeat it ritual until the syllables run-on sentence down your spine, so that when the next deaths come, because they will, we will have vigor enough to remember their names.”
Tasha extends her words as an invitation, leading us into a world where we can seek refuge from our harsh reality and build a home within comfort. A world where rest is not synonymous with weakness and taking care of ourselves is not equated to selfishness.
She refers to this world in the following track as “A New Place.” The first step into melody maps out the expansive and shifting album. Stylistically, she seamlessly transitions from finger-picked guitar, oscillating synths, to more textured bass-driven rhythms. Her artistry transcending genre.
“Maybe we the future we envisioned all that time ago.”
Reflecting on the reality that the listeners are the future and that everything is dependent on the present, Tasha shows that their imagination is indispensable. She is the kind of figure I wish I had been able to look up to as a young girl. A poet and songwriter that not only has a strong personal voice, but one that is able to amplify the voices of the voiceless.
“Or maybe we’re destined for light now.”
In darkness, it’s hard to imagine what light would feel like. Tasha’s warm vocal tonality and thoughtful guitar serve as a reminder of what goodness can come even in dark times. The beauty of the song and album cutting through our lives within a bleak social climate.
Tasha’s composition in the fourth track, “Kind of Love,” is the kind of perfect that is almost indescribable. It is sensual and intimate, with the song’s narrative mirrored in the musical themes and instrumentation.
It begins with hazy guitar, suspending the listener in the uncertainty of new love. The introduction of xylophone and percussive human sounds reflecting the twinkling thrill of exploring someone else. The woozy bass-line and layered vocals emulating the inner voices of self-doubt and bliss that come along with relationships.
Alone at Last covers entire universes of ground, still everything is rooted in Tasha’s identity. The second to last song, “Lullaby,” is a tender blend of buzzing electric guitar, glockenspiel and overlapping vocal harmonies, allowing for Tasha’s words to offer sympathy and reassurance to a tired mind.
Black women are held up against an archetypal expectation of being “the strong black woman.” Tasha’s lullaby puts this stereotype, and all other stereotypes for model minorities, to rest, with the hope of waking to a better reality. By giving these women the room to “keep [their] magic to [themselves],” Tasha is lifting the grips of racial and gendered gravity, allowing them the freedom of flight. Even if it is just for a moment.
Alone at Last out now via Father Daughter Records.