Praise.Thee.Lord that life is more than first impressions. After hearing auto-tune raps on Anesha’s Introducing Running, The Mixtape, I was ready to say check please. But the Detroit native is far too talented for a superficial glance. Anesha took the Stacy Barthe route and wrote for pop music’s biggest stars (Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez) after Anesha and her sister Antea auditioned for Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Now that Anesha has immense experience under her belt, she debuts The Running Mixtape that meshes Christian pop with Top 40 hits. Once I got over the auto-tune rhymes, I was pleased to hear Anesha’s honey coated vocals sing
my life’s anthem ”Broke”. It has the optimism of a bubble gum pop song, but Anesha’s playfully worded “Andrew Jackson” struggles provide a greater depth. After Anesha sings the gut-wrenching “Poison”, she makes the plea I’ve said so many times when I was having a dark night of the soul. The electro-R&B “1:17AM (Go Away)” has a haunting chorus where Anesha prays: “I just want this pain to go away”. It’s my personal favorite because Anesha embraces her weakness and ultimately God’s strength.
I had a hard time getting past “1:17AM”, but “Running” and “I’m Coming Home” continues Anesha’s unrestrained honesty and ambition. Her fearlessness in the face of imperfection is the heartbeat of this project.
Though Anesha’s “Where Have You Been” Rihanna cover seemed paint by the numbers, that doesn’t mean Anesha can’t slay a dance song. The pulsating techno/house jam “I Remember” was far too short. Just when I was going to raise my holy hands in glowstick worship, the song was over.
With Running, The Mixtape ending with rock-tinged songs “New Lots Avenue (Life)” and “Best Friend”, I couldn’t help but to feel emotionally and musically exhausted. In only ten tracks, Anesha covered almost every aspect of pop music with powerhouse vocals, tight harmonies, and transparent lyrics spanning romance, finance, and spirituality. You don’t come across an artist like Anesha everyday. She does more than run, she soars. Bandcamp Twitter Faceboook