TL: DR, 19 and Dangerous by Ayra Starr is an amazing album. It has a slow tempo album with love as its core subject matter but no worries, Ayra knows when and how to spark up the place. Strongly recommended for chill moments, like on your commute home.
Starting with that claim means I was giving you the opportunity to skip me and go listen for yourself. With a total run time of around 33 mins, it is a quick album that covers most of the emotions a teenage girl might be dealing with. It honestly feels like we were allowed to read her diary out loud, in public. It’s brazen, and if you were allowed to explore the world your way as a teenager, it is relatable. You get to experience these vivid watercolor pictures of teenage years all over again.
Do you remember your first love or heartbreak, and would you like to relive it? Well, no need, Ayra got you covered. With 6 out of the 11 tracks covering love, desires, and heartbreak, the album tips the scale on love but it should be expected as love is a major theme for most women around the age of 19. From Snitch to Lonely and Karma, Ayra tries to use persuasion and threats to gain a favorable outcome in her “relationship”. But in all the talk of love, a sad reality persists, each song tells a tale of lost love. Arya sounds like a woman going through intense heartbreak and that pain can be heard in her songs. Unfortunately for her and us, by extension, there are no signs of a newfound love or the possibility of a new beginning, not even a hint of it.
Beyond those, she is aspirational, unapologetic, and prayerful in her other songs. In Cast and Amin, the opening and closing songs of the album, she sings with the profoundness of someone who has lived a thousand lives. Opening with a declaration that she is on a solo journey through life and will live it without a second thought yet closing the album with a willingness to reflect on those decisions. The carefree message of Cast can be heard in Brigdertn, Fashion Killa, and Bloody Samaritan; these three were the most energetic tracks on the whole album, putting her in what she describes to be outside her comfort zone. Comfort zone or not, she still delivers spectacular results.
Ayra Starr is definitely a “ticking dynamite” that is set to blow and dominate the charts but I will expect less from an artist being developed by Don Jazzy. Her vocals, lyrics, and the production on the album are spot on, well crafted, and very intentional, with lots of repeat play potentials. The album also had minimal guest appearances. And with no assists, most of the load falls on her shoulder yet, Ayra effortlessly delivers a solid album that I believe you will enjoy as well.
Favorite Tracks include Bridgertn, Fashion Killa, Bloody Samaritan, and Snitch.