SR Records (label)
10 May 2019 (released)
12 May 2019
Lauren Ray’s sophomore LP Woman in the Arena holds some sweet hearted and emotional moments.
The album opens with its strongest track ‘Moment’. In the review of the single Music News called it:
“touching and sentimental”, and there seems to be no reason to change that assessment.
The offering about living life to the fullest whilst thanking loved ones for such a positive outlook, is a high benchmark to match. It’s one that the LP can’t quite live up to across 10 tracks.
That’s not to say the pop flavoured project doesn’t give it a good go, but rather speaks to the power of the leadoff. ‘‘It Was Worth It’also proves to be a highlight.
The song is a rare and refreshing take on love and loss. The story begins with the protagonist at a funeral, bearing witness to the loss of a loved one. Rather than mourn death, the protagonist wants desperately to find a love so deep and profound, that she would one day “fall apart”.
Ray manages to pull out a sliver of optimism in the most pessimistic of situations. The artist sings:
“I want to find somebody who’s worthy of feeling awful, when forever comes to an end and I think I can’t take the pain, I wanna say it was worth it ..”
Deft lyrical touches on ‘I Decided On You’ also help showcase Ray’s writing talents. In one tender moment the songstress sings:
“There will be times when it’s not easy, but I guarantee I’m in this completely, you’ll aspire I’ll aspire for better…”.
The listener gets a sense of a healthy and realistic relationship, striving to improve and get stronger.
Unfortunately, there are one or two weaker moments which include the affair focused ‘What We Came Here For’. The song wallows in regret over a drunken affair, but the lyrics struggle to connect the listener with the emotional guilt the singer apparently feels.
It is a rare misstep on an album which showcases emotional connection as one of its fortes.
Produced by Julian Emery (McFly) and mixed by Cenzo Townsend, (U2) the album maintains an easy listening aesthetic. It is a little bit of rock, a smidge of funk, and computerized drums. While there are some interesting musical moments, the lyrics are standouts on the work. The backing tracks provide a pleasant vehicle to convey the messages of the project.
The emotional ‘Moment’ and ‘It Was Worth It’ are the album’s most powerful offerings. The singer-songwriter appears to enjoy delving into emotionally raw themes and it pays the most dividends for the listener.