Sinéad Harnett has conjured up a reintroduction in the form of her sophomore album Ready Is Always Too Late, a collection of soul-searching R&B ballads and seamless collaborations that present the Thai and Irish singer as a critical new voice in the genre. Part of that reintroduction process involved a revaluation of her self-worth, with songs on the album oscillating between scenes from Harnett’s past and the vulnerability she felt in lacking confidence in herself. The eponymous lead song from the album wrestles in delicate retrospect with Harnett’s own experience with being given the excuse of “Not ready” — a phrase often used as a euphemism or excuse for commitment in a relationship. But on Ready Is Always Too Late Harnett doesn’t just limit that idea to her relationships with other people, instead, she expands it to encompass her own apprehension in life. Throughout the album’s alluring and lush melodies, saturated as they are with Harnett’s orotund vocals, the singer/songwriter asserts that other people’s reluctance to experience life fully won’t force her to do the same.
Out of the bouquet of mellifluous strings and soaring vocals that is “Stay” comes Harnett’s own commitment to that ethos: unafraid and uncompromising, Harnett makes a covenant with herself to no longer accept the limits of her own perceived readiness. On “Last Love,” dodging ecstatic beats and riding a surge of pop bombast Harnett drops her guard to wring her heart over the pitfalls of a past lover (“Nothing gets in your way like a past love,” she sings); while the tender confessional “Hard 4 Me 2 Love You” silhouettes the heartbreak Harnett has received from giving all her love to someone who doesn’t seem to want any of it.
Despite the pain, Harnett still finds it within herself to grow, not just emotionally but within her expression through music as well. Songs like the bouncy groover “Take Me Away” (feat. EARTHGANG) and drifty, acoustic melodies of “Anymore” (feat. Lucky Daye) emerge as not just organic collaborations between Harnett her contemporaries, but as prime examples of her eclecticism. Then there is the incomprehensibly funky “Stickin'” (feat. Masego and VanJess) a single that brings Harnett together with that of Jamaican-American singer Micah Davis and Nigerian-American sisterly duo Ivana and Jessica Nwokike and remains one of the essential bangers stuck in your ear after your first listen through.
“Ready has often been an excuse, and one I didn’t want to use anymore,” Harnett said of the album. “I wasn’t ready to be proud of the skin I was in, to find my inner confidence or to truly practice self-love. But I’m doing it now and it’s an ongoing, crazy and unpredictable journey that I’m grateful for.”
Listen to Sinéad Harnett’s new album Ready Is Always Too Late below or via your preferred streaming platform.