We’re lucky to have Rukhsana Merise on the scene and her latest offering, Today, proves this like it’s light work. This album is a confessional, varied and hearty collection of tracks which play to the West London songstress’ strengths as an unpredictable, detailed and confident storyteller who can mix up a whole host of genres and styles with ease and good taste..
Opening with ‘Save Me’ – we’re treated to a ten second initiation (in the form of a sexy little beat) before Merise slides in with a vocal that feels smooth in a 90’s Pop R&B kinda way, before belting out her trademark country infused gutsy vocals as she hits the chorus. It’s a loud and quiet journey of a tune which sticks straight into the consciousness, it only takes two listens before I’ve memorised the whole thing and I’m storming along like “I’ve been broken, drunk and crazy! I hope I meet to meet someone who’s got the courage to save me”. What. A. Banger. With that, the tone is set for this lively but personal and emotional beast of an album.
Something which jumps out in particular, is how good Merise is at using questions as a narrative staple in her lyrics – this makes the whole thing feel like one big conversation with her. ‘Sorry’ is thrillingly confrontational in its demands to the listener. Merise clearly isn’t the kind of woman to give anyone an easy ride, I love this: she’s exactly the alternative female star we need and she’s doing anthemic powerhouse tunes which don’t succumb to poppy auto tuning: bliss. On ‘Hung Up’ she switches her sound up again. The vocals are so sharp and quip like here they almost cut. On the foot stomping and fun ‘First For Once’ – we’re treated to a cameo from Wretch 32 – this offers a glimmer, I think, into Merises tastes and sensibilities outside of her own unique sound. Wretch 32 sounds great on the track and it’s a lovable union wrapping the album up and leaving us wanting to listen to it all all over again, on a loop, which you will, all Summer.