Yaya Bey is is spiritually re-energised on Remember Your North Star
In many ways, 2022 has been a breakout year for Yaya Bey. Last year’s EP The Things I Can’t Take With Me – a fifteen-minute trip through Bey’s experiences of love, relationships and her struggles with mental health – gave fascinating insight into her artistic direction.
However, it was a temporary fix. The EP’s name derived from Bey’s need to express her feelings in the moment, and make music that reflected “all this shit I gotta let go of” before her next venture. It was introverted so much as it was cautiously optimistic, with slow-burning tracks interspersed with laughter and jovial conversation.
Whether you call it coming out of her shell or breaking free of old troubles, Remember Your North Star is spiritually re-energised. Much of the introspective nature of The Things I Can’t Take With Me remains, yet it now goes joyously hand-in-hand with more outward-looking and confident compositions.
Every track’s poetic exploration is absorbing and affecting in their wit and wisdom. Lyrics range from the boasts of ‘big daddy ya’ (“I’m a whole superstar / I’m a big fucking deal / Mmm-mmm, I’m a meal”) to the Greek tragi-comic ‘keisha’, which laments “Yeah the pussy so, so good / And you still don’t love me”.
Plus, the sheer breadth of Remember Your North Star is staggering. Though lo-fi soul and hip hop make up a lot of the proceedings, detours into trip hop, RnB, and the delightful reggae helping of ‘meet me in brooklyn’ emerge beautifully into picture. The variety feels unpredictable yet so utterly at home throughout the album.
Perhaps the beauty of Remember Your North Star is that it only lasts 34 minutes. For an artist to be able to delve so deeply into themselves and make an album feel so complete within such a short timeframe is remarkable. Above all else, it showcases Bey’s unflappable approach to her intimacies and observations, of which we are her enthralled, captivated audience.
By Jamie Bains – @Jamie_Bains