Rachel Chinouriri – It Is What It Is

Rachel Chinouriri has released a treat of a track with “It Is What It Is” in anticipation of her debut album, What A Devastating Turn of Events, arriving next week May 3rd. In yet another versatile twist, the song follows hits like “Never Need Me,” “So My Darling” and the title track “What A Devastating Turn of Events.”

At first glance, “It Is What It Is” sounds like a secret. Recorded in a style somewhat akin to a voice note, Chinouriri has her friends prominently open for her – warning her against reaching out. Like a song you weren’t supposed to hear, the offering is a stream of consciousness that’s deeply personal to Chinouriri.

It’s not an incorrect assessment, considering Chinouriri’s own words about the track: “Well, I was definitely in a petty mood. It’s interesting because humans are full of flaws and I have the privilege of going through therapy, which has massively helped me with my self development journey however there are those moments where you want to be so petty because someone’s done you wrong. I’ve learnt I’m responsible for how I allow men to treat me because they feel I’m worthless enough to be treated that way and it’s a big F U to them as I’ve not discovered how much I deserve. I just feel annoyed I never got to say what I wanted and that’s fine… I have this song instead and it is what it is :)”

Indeed, it’s a fearless portrayal of whatever was left unsaid. It’s also a masterclass in crafting a compelling story and knowing just how to tell it over music. Accompanied by nothing more than a simple bass track and whistle, she gracefully twists and turns through that tell-tale feeling of exhaustion.

Then, when you least expect it, the chorus hits and Chinouriri effortlessly switches it up from talking to singing. “It is what it is, what it is is a problem,” is sung so airily and definitively over the hook that you can’t help but find yourself humming it. Or texting it to your friends in need of similar life advice.
And, as with any good story, there’s also a satisfactory end that calls back to the beginning of the track. Those friends who seemed to warn Rachel previously, actually clarify they are expressing their disgust at the man who mistreated her. “Look, just, fuck everything he says / And he never did deserve you / uh, Rachel, I’m mad.”

It’s empowering to hear a woman address how difficult it can be to value ourselves, and how important supportive friendships are in realizing that. Fun fact – the friends who spoke these words are none other than fellow singer-songwriters Olivia Dean, Cat Burns, and Mae Muller.

Easily one of the best songs in recent history that effectively employs a fresh whistle hook, “It Is What It Is” is set to be another instant classic off Chinouriri’s debut album.