“I’ll never break your heart / I’ll love you ‘till the end / By your side is where I’ll be / It’s the only face that I see.” Yes, this is the love-lusting manner in which Raquel Kiaraa broaches the chorus of her debut single “Love to the Moon,” and no, I don’t believe it’s a legitimately desperate plea to get a romantic interest to come crawling back to her (though it could sound that way if you were simply reading these lyrics on paper). Kiaraa conveys a statement of fearlessness with her lack of interest in even the crudest of poetic shields in “Love to the Moon,” and while some might find it distasteful for the contemporary standard, I think it’s a rather confident look worthy of applause.
The vocal is definitely what gives the lyrical content in this single its sense of vibrancy – a sense that, I should add, likely wouldn’t have been included in this recording were there a different singer in charge of the mic. There’s a coldness to the hook that barely sees any kindling from the harmony Kiaraa starts in the chorus, and though I think this was meant to create emotional clarity and authenticity for the verses, it’s an experimental compositional move that probably wouldn’t have turned out well for a crooner of less talent.
While the percussion isn’t as steady as I’d like it to be here, there’s still enough precision on the part of Ms. Kiaraa that the groove isn’t totally lost to the song’s messy backend. She would benefit from a better instrumental foundation in the future, but only if she seeks to continue recording this mildly electric style over something more organically vocal based. With her skillset, she could do acapella or something just as stripped-down, and I don’t know that she’d be any less accomplished at the end of the day.
I don’t usually follow Raquel Kiaraa’s scene, but the release of “Love to the Moon” has definitely made me curious to look out for more of her music – as well as that of her local peers – in 2021. There are scores of intriguing singer/songwriters across every genre making a case for superstardom in the American underground at the moment, but if you find old school showmanship to be a bit more provocative than the alternative-tinged stylizations of an efficient millennial generation, this is the gal to go see.
by Bethany Page