Following the success of ‘Moral of the Story’, Ashe’s ‘The Same’ just isn’t the same

California-based+singer-songwriter+Ashe+takes+a+slower%2C+more+toned-back+approach+with+her+new+single+%22The+Same.%22

Justin Higuchi from Los Angeles, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

California-based singer-songwriter Ashe takes a slower, more toned-back approach with her new single “The Same.”

Elena Eaton, Lead Cartoonist

If you’re expecting the same indie-alt smash hit as ‘Moral of the Story’ from Ashe’s new release “The Same,” you might be disappointed.

California-native Ashlyn Wilson, known by fans as Ashe, began her music career in the early 2010s with features on tracks by Ben Phipps and Shaun Frank.  Eight years later, Ashe released her debut EP album ‘The Rabbit Hole.’  Though she gained substantial influence in the alt-pop scene with this release, her greater rise to fame was with the release of track “Moral of the Story” from EP “Moral of the Story: Chapter 1” in 2019.  

Despite starting as a “divorce therapy” song, “Moral of the Story” quickly amassed clout after featuring on Netflix’s “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.” Later, the song gained further popularity on social media app TikTok and was a trending sound for several weeks.

Publicity aside, listeners were drawn to “Moral of the Story” because of its raw, emotive lyricism.  Though not every listener had gone through divorce, heartbreak is among the most universal experiences. Listening to ‘Moral of the Story,’ Ashe’s audience felt understood– and forgiven.

“We trusted our gut and people are really relating to this really honest and kind of heartbreaking experience,” Ashe stated.

This impactful meaning coupled with the characteristic crescendo of harmony and instrumental violin and piano produced a downright moving song that pulled at the heartstrings of every listener.

Now, roughly two years later, Ashe released the single “The Same/ Real Love” containing tracks “The Same” and ‘Real Love” on Feb. 11 of this year. 

Track “The Same” is certainly a divergence from fan favorite “Moral of the Story.” Taking a more acoustic and slow-paced approach, “The Same” details the highs and lows of love.  Initially, Ashe sings “Oh, I love the way you smile / And the way you say my name / Oh, I think I’ll fall apart if / You ever go away”; however, roughly two minutes later she adapts these lyrics to evidence the crumbling of a once-perfect relationship. “I still love the way you smile / And the way you say my name / Oh, I think I’ll fall apart if / You choose to stay away”. Going from the perspective of someone happy and in love with their significant other to someone still in love with, but distanced from, their significant other, Ashe recounts the peaks and valleys of being in love.

Though I find the approach Ashe took towards describing love refreshing, I was not a fan of this track. Often we hear about love in extremes. Either a singer is completely and irrevocably in love with their person of interest or they are vehemently upset with them. Rarely do we hear the shades of gray. I commend Ashe for detailing the side of love that holds on through thick and thin, but I found the song too slow to maintain listener interest. “The Same”’ maintains a 4/4 time signature from start to finish and lacks a pivotal spike in energy to distinguish the track from bland monotony.

Another factor in my dissatisfaction with this track was the scarcity of lyrics. Ashe has about two total stanzas of solid lyrics, each broken up by stanzas of “ooh”s of equal length. With a song so limited in musical composition, I would expect serious lyricism to make up the difference. Unfortunately, this scant amount of actual, substantial lyrics does not cut it.

It’s hard to live up to a chart-topping track; nonetheless, I don’t think Ashe’s “The Same” was the follow-up her fans were expecting. Albums of the Year gave this single a user score of 50 and I can’t say that’s terribly unfair. Considering the minimal lyrics and poor musical composition of “The Same” I think the track is really just mediocre.

If you’re looking for a track that maintains the intensity and tempo of “Moral of the Story” I do not recommend spending the three minutes and 53 seconds on Ashe’s “The Same.”