We’ve all been in one place or another where we’ve had to confront our version of faith. Not so much in the religious sense, though it can be applicable for some, I mean when we don’t know what’s happening to us or the world around us. We can process it, but it still pierces us, confuses us, leaves us feeling helpless, and in these times where personal character is most developed under pressure, we wonder where that force is, that hope we believe in deep down that will keep us afloat. Sometimes we’ll never get the answer, most times in fact, but there’s a catharsis to saying even to yourself “Is there anyone up there who cares?”.
Raquel Kiaraa’s “Dear Jesus” conveys and performs these ideas expertly in a way I’d be hard-pressed to say others have heard like before. It’s a song made of pure pain and anguish that transcends the sharpness and curt hate it could have become into something beautiful that will connect with many who have been in this position looking back or even more accurately people who are in it now. It’s a song that has the feeling of prayer in the dark, and not just because it’s narratively about Raquel singing about the hardships that have befallen her family and herself and how it’s a load that’s becoming too heavy and she doesn’t know why no one is helping her. In this song, she uses Jesus as the figure she reaches out to for guidance, but it’s far from a “religious” song.
Conceptually it’s far broader. It’s about hope and the lack of it that you can depend on from something external, and I think it’s a song many will take different interpretations from. There are many who view this experience as something you work through until the universe reveals itself in new ways that have been there to help you all along, and other times people come to the conclusion that you can only help yourself, and sometimes and most nuanced of all it’s a combination of the two. Raquel doesn’t offer any easy answers and the song ends as ambiguously as it enters.
You bring your own baggage to it, and ultimately it’s what you’ll come out with too. I think despite how hard the subject matter is, even if it is performed and executed beautifully, Kiaraa who’s relatively new to music is just a god-given natural talent. She has a clear vision of her artistic persona and you can tell she’s clearly a fan of types like Lady Gaga or Sia, but this never feels like a clone of their music. It’s minimalist in its approach on an aesthetic level and offers beautiful tranquility in its bass and drum work and the electric guitar plucks along in a way that’s like a wave pulling back and forth from the shore.
This might be a song about feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to go next, but luckily it seems Kiaraa has a very clear vision of her future, and she’s writing it.