Amina Shareef Ali-In The Dark (Awake Of Course)

So this album came out two weeks ago, but I’ve had it for a while. And when I say a while I don’t mean like a week before release, I mean I’ve had this album since JANUARY! I listened to it when I first got it and liked it, but wasn’t really feeling up to writing anything at the time. And then today I was walking around and decided to put it on, and for some reason those first few songs were pushing me towards sitting down and letting people know this exists.

There’s a line that comes at the end of the first song that goes “sometimes just staying alive’s an art, but I don’t know why it hurts to heal.” I’m not sure why but it felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on my head. With everything going on in the world, those words ring so true it’s terrifying. And the fact that it’s becoming evergreen makes it hit even harder. After that I started paying more attention and really found myself in awe of the songwriting here.

This is Ali’s first album in seven years, so she’s had a lot of time to work toward the finished product. In The Dark (Awake Of Course) is a deeply personal album that finds her jumping in and out of different genres with ease. It’s direct and plain-spoken in a refreshing way. Flowery metaphor is often great, but the raw power of truth is undeniable. The emotion of each song easily resonates because the words and performance are so natural and not overblown with unnecessary production.

There’s another line on the album that I think stands as a kind of foundation around which the rest of the songs are built. It goes “There’s some things that you can’t bring back. There’s some things that you can’t revive. After all, life didn’t come back to me. No, I came back to life.”

In The Dark doesn’t shy away from exploring the scarier parts of Ali’s mind, but there is a cautious optimism always lurking about, shining a light to lead you through the murk. If that sounds like an adventure you’d like to go on, you can pick up a digital copy of the album here.