Moral of the Story: Chapter 1 is an EP that leaves you feeling a wide range of emotions after the first listen. What I’ve found, after returning to the 4-track project from Ashe time and time again since its release earlier this month, is it’s nearly impossible to not become even more emotionally invested in Ashe and the story she is sharing with each new listen. With the project, Ashe takes listeners on a journey through different stages of her marriage that ended in a messy divorce. The emotive saga is revealed through the CA-based artist’s pristine balance of modern pop and vintage vocals – it’s almost as if she’s dancing between eras as the dreamy delivery couples with her pain and personal growth. The relatable humanness of Ashe comes to life thanks to her songwriting and storytelling, which possess a raw ability to enter the psyche of the listener and bring them to the exact emotional headspace Ashe is occupying in the song. While today’s top pop stars are able to release energetic bops, attracting listeners with glitz, glam and elusive stardom, Ashe presents a collection of music that is sure to strike close to home for many listeners – Moral of the Story: Chapter 1 is sonically captivating, but it’s greatest strength lies in how authentic and relatable Ashe’s story is.
The EP kicks off with “Figured Out,” a song that focuses on the toxic trap of comparisons. When one becomes so lost and confused at the turmoil of their life, it’s likely everyone else will appear to have their shit in order. Of course, this is hardly the truth – but the grass often looks a lot greener when our energy is focused on a dying, or already dead, relationship. As everything you believed and were used to reveals itself to be an illusion, it begins to feel as though everyone has life figured out except for you.
With “Bachelorette,” Ashe bears the burden of having to make the final decision – is the relationship over or will they hold on to what’s already lost? The song dances with the battle between a fear of loneliness and those frightful first steps of moving on in life. She’s deciding between the short term loss of losing the relationship and the long term loss of losing herself if she stays – although this differentiation is seldom clear when the decision must be made, Ashe has been able to reflect on the decision and come to a peaceful acceptance of it. Despite the confusion and internal struggle present in “Bachelorette,” the song beams with a glimmer of hope as Ashe realizes the love was never real if it ends this way.
With the decision made and the relationship over, Ashe basks in the light of acceptance as she breaks through to the otherside of what used to be, entering into the next stages of her life. Having taken the necessary steps to take care of her own happiness and well-being, “Shitty Places, Pretty Faces” sees Ashe recognizing the benefits of the end. There’s a sense of guilt for feeling so happy so soon after things ended in the messy fashion they did, but the emergence of this happiness serves as another sign the relationship was supposed to end. We get signs all the time, what matters is if we choose to listen and what we do with them.
The EP ends with “Moral of the Story,” which served as the first single released prior to the full project. The title track works as a form of therapy through sonic purge. It’s an acceptance of the mistakes that have been made and the process in which everything played out. Regardless of how difficult the entire journey was, it provided Ashe with invaluable lessons she can now carry with her though life. Often times, our greatest teachers are the darkest trials and tribulations we thrive through.
It’s notable that Moral of the Story: Chapter 1 does not contain any blatant shade or blame being thrown by Ashe towards her ex. It’s not an EP manifested through angst but a representation through song of Ashe’s experiences. The focus is on her: her living, her learning, her letting go and her continuing on towards the next chapter of her life story. The story belongs to Ashe, not her ex, which adds a lovely level of grace and sophistication to the EP.
As the title eludes, this is merely chapter 1, leaving Ashe’s fans hoping there are many more chapters of her life and her music to come. Moral of the Story: Chapter 1 is available now on all major streaming platforms.
Stream the EP below.