Raveena comforts listeners, radiates enlightenment in ‘Asha’s Awakening’

Angela Lim, Life & Arts Reporter

Raveena spent the past two years reflecting on what it means to be human. Weaving all the fibers of her identity within a fusion of genres, her realizations come to life through her 15-track sophomore LP, Asha’s Awakening, released Feb. 11. 

The album’s whimsical concept follows the story of Asha — a Punjabi princess the artist created — as she undergoes a millennia-long journey of enlightenment among the cosmos.

With a destination in mind, the singer-songwriter curated her songs intentionally. Listeners should play the tracks in order to fully immerse themselves into the experience. The alluring opener, “Rush,” shows Raveena’s ambitious, unapologetic change in direction for this project with bouncy Bollywood-inspired percussion.

The first half of the album keeps spirits high. “Magic” enchants with a tropical marimba sound as Raveena’s signature airy vocals transport listeners to paradise. Meanwhile, the funky, distorted guitars in “Kathy Left 4 Kathmandu” strum throughout, creating a retro feel with electronic bursts of nostalgia and a stunning interlude. A standout track, “Mystery,” showcases the innate human need for connection, its lyrics calling out, “Isn’t that the goal? / To be loved until you’re whole.” The simple, yet effective instrumentals, backing vocals and smooth transitions make the track worth listening to, especially while traveling or on a relaxing trip.

Several tracks on the LP also center around the idea of destiny. “Kismet,” an empowering and upbeat hymn, begins with the artist singing lyrics in Hindi, inviting listeners to join her. Its chorus chant, “Zindagi ki kismet,” reaffirms the belief that life’s complexities inevitably fall into place.

The tone of Asha’s Awakening becomes more mellow after “Arrival to the Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Intermission).” Now in a state of wonder, the remaining tracks gradually shift to the slow R&B sound old listeners are more familiar with. “Asha’s Kiss,” which follows Raveena’s South Asian roots melodically, presents a honeysuckle, dreamlike atmosphere akin to her 2019 song, “Nectar.” “Love Overgrown” looks at a relationship in hindsight with gentle guitars and heartbeats, while “Endless Summer” contains a captivating, healing chorus in spite of its pensive lyrics, “Why do seasons have to change? / Why does love grow then burn to flames? / Why do people leave and die?” To help ease overwhelming thoughts, the album ends with a gorgeous guided meditation called “Let Your Breath Become a Flower,” where Raveena keeps her audience present and safe in her dimension for 13 more minutes.

Beyond imparting light and power, Asha’s Awakening elevates listeners to mindfulness, steering them away from pandemonium. As a culmination of everything Raveena learned and came to love during the creative process, the LP conveys what it feels like to be alive through sound. Such an epiphany is well within reach.

4.5 pink skies out of 5