‘You & Me’, the latest EP from Rachel Jane, is a much lighter affair than her last. This is perhaps not surprising given its themes of love and romance. She manages to avoid the schmaltziness associated with such topics however, particularly at this time of year, by retaining an essential RnB sound which, when coupled with neo-soul, made 2020s ‘Hustle & Hope’ such a relatable record. This grounding-in-reality is evident again here, not just in the immersive vibes of the music but in the honesty of the lyrics too.
I love how the smoothness of ‘Falling For You’ acts as a slide from the blossoming of young love down towards the depths of committed relationship. I like how the chilled atmosphere created on ‘More Than Friends’ represents the ease with which a friendship transitions into a relationship. And I appreciate the continuation of that combination of frustration and expectation in ‘Made for Something’ and ‘Mondays’ that mirror previous songs like ‘Get Up’ and ‘Working Hard’. The former’s chorus, “We’re made for something / but why have we got to wait… / come on and make a way”,echoes a universal exasperation with that great virtue, patience, whose reward is found in the latter’s lines, “by Friday the grey clouds will part / and the sun will shine through”.
This is the message that comes through from Rachel Jane time and again; that inspires and resonates in such a way as to make the ‘You’ of the EP’s title hold a double-meaning. It becomes not just about husband Joel but about us, the listeners, too – particularly those for whom chasing after dreams becomes a hard slog amidst the hustle and bustle of life. It is a reminder that those hard times might be real and felt but they don’t have to have the last word. Between you and me (and Rachel Jane), there is always hope.
Featured Image (C) Rachel Jane