On Oct.14, 2022, British singer/songwriter RAYE introduced us to her new self in “Escapism” with a 070 Shake feature. The song became an instant viral hit the minute TikTok got ahold of it, and everyone can agree that this song is that good. Its storytelling, its intoxicating bass and the conveyed message is how “Escapism” created a new genre of music.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the meaning of escapism is “the habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.” This definition matches perfectly with the song as it describes her self-destructive behavior reviving once again after a break-up in order for her to numb her feelings.
The song is amazing all on its own, but when you add in the visuals, it only elevates everything to a higher level. The red and blue color scheme throughout, the distorted voices, the night vision angles, the trippy shots and so much more play a factor to the impactful message. When it comes to music videos, some songs do not match it well. Nonetheless, this song is the exception.
Once you watch the video and listen to the song, you are left with a feeling that we have not felt with a song since the early 2000s, and that feeling stays with you. It is what makes “Escapism” addicting and worth every listen. Ever since I first heard the song, I now cannot go throughout the day without listening to it about three times.
We are taken on a journey on a night of substance abuse and secular activities in the name of numbing the pain. Not only are we reminiscent of the recent heartbreak we experienced, but we are also reminiscent of our crippling mind altering to the normal feeling of sadness, emptiness and loneliness. Behind all of the flashing lights are overwhelming emotions that have overdone its stay, but you do not even know if you want it to leave.
RAYE has created a new way of storytelling through song or a way that has been there but has been buried in the dirt of consumerism. I miss the days where R&B male singers would cry in the rain displaying emotions from heartbreak and the days where music videos were the chance to show audiences a movie within the song.
However, as the years progressed, money and clout began to make the world go ‘round in a fight for relevance. Many believe that genres such as pop and hip-hop are gradually going downhill and are not what they used to be. That is why it is important to showcase artists such as RAYE that are keeping the dark R&B/pop name alive.
As a writer, I love media outlets that display great storytelling outside of novels. Music is a universal language, and although it is perfectly fine to make mainstream music, it also adds depth to an artist that can reveal another layer to them. RAYE is one of the few current artists that courageously expresses her vulnerability her way, and I believe she will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Now, if you excuse me, I need my daily dose of “Escapism” now.