Blu is the next track and this song starts off really promising. The distorted drums and complicated production that was present in “The Internet” are back and it’s definitely something that Jon is not only known for but also perfecting as every album feels slightly better than the last. Out of nowhere the beat slows down and switches to a piano solo by Jon. This is such a him thing to do, blending pop and hip hop production for one part of the song and all of a sudden hitting the breaks and slowing down into a ballad. Listen to “New Your Soul Pt II” if you want to hear this at full effect. After the final slow piano section, the production just explodes and it sounds so good. I feel this is song is more about how Jon’s voice sounds rather than the lyrics, this is nor criticism or praise, just an observation. Overall I like this song, but it does feel overshadowed by the the tracks it’s sandwiched between.
I spoke about how I love it when Jon raps on his tracks, and the next track is the hardest I’ve ever heard him go on a beat, the man snapped. I can’t quite get the meaning of this song. The song is titled Adult Swim, which is an american channel that hosted the hugely popular Rick and Morty. In the song the beat switches three times and when it does there is a feeling of changing channels on TV which is very fitting. The first beat is a more chilled beat and Jon’s flow matches this, his voice isn’t too energetic or aggressive. Then the second verse comes out of nowhere and it’s my favourite of the three. He’s faster, has stronger inflections, and he even mentions how his tone is becoming aggressive in his bars. I really wish this part was longer as it’s an amazing beat and amazing delivery from Jon. The third verse calms the song down, it brings a slower beat, a more conventional flow but arguably the most personal verse in terms of lyrics. Jon’s rapping is quite rare so when he does it makes it that little bit more special.
“Couples Retreat” is the prefect song for 2018, it still sounds like Jon but also I can see it being on the radio along with other mainstream pop music. This is a weird one for me, I don’t often choose to play it but when I hear it I enjoy it. I feel it’s unfair to criticise the song for just that reason as any song that follows Adult Swim in my opinion would have a tough time matching it. Jon often likes to let his production take the front seat and this is one of those songs. We definitely get more sounds than voice and the only real lyric that stands out is “come say sorry with your body” because it’s repeated quite a lot. To me this song is a nice one to have in the background, or to introduce a pop music fanatic to Jon Bellion but for me I won’t be actively listening to it very often. There are some insanely brilliant sings by him (a few of which come from this album) and this just isn’t one of them for me.
While Couples Retreat sounded familiar, Cautionary tales really didn’t. I think this song is a really strong argument for how Jon Bellion is able to follow music trends and also keep his music sounding truly different. I love the way he delivers the lyrics, it’s the speed of rapping but has the melody of singing. This is something Jon pulls of better than the vast majority of people in the music industry. The song sounds modern, clean and genuinely new. I think this is why Jon has such a loyal following, He has such a fresh outlook on music and this lives through his vocals and production. This song is the equivalent of free food: you never knew you wanted it until it was presented to you, and now you have it it’s the best thing ever. If you want to make a track that smoothly transitions from acoustic instruments to electronic synthesizers use this song as an example, its fantastic. Plus Will Smith in the chorus will always be a win.
And so we reach the final track, “Mah’s Joint”, and its 8 minutes long. Before I listened to this I knew that it would include a near-prefect instrumental as the one and only Quincy Jones is featured. For some context Quincy Jones has over 60 years of record producing experience and 79 Grammy Nominations, so he knows music. The actual lyrical content ends around 2 and a half minutes in and after that you get an instrumental that will want every song to be made with tangible instruments again. There’s drums, trumpets, horns, you name it it’s probably in this ending instrumental. I don’t want to spoil this song, it’s possibly my favourite outro to any project ever. It is a long track but it’s worth sparing time to play this with a good quality pair of speakers/headphones. You have to actively listen to this track and I feel that is part of the point of this song. Seriously go listen.
Albums are getting shorter with less songs on them. Glory Sound Prep is victim to this but this feels more concentrated. I believe Jon only put out 10 songs to make each one the best he possibly he can as I have positives for every single song on this project. Adult Swim, Cautionary Tales and The Internet are on repeat constantly. Stupid Deep and Couples Retreat are still good songs, but just not for me. I would say I would have enjoyed every song if that little squeaky noise wasn’t in Stupid Deep. It’s such a shame but to me a and a couple other people I know it just sounds off.
If you want a definitive answer to the question “Is this album good?”. I’ve bought it on physical CD, so it’s in my albums of 2018, will it be in yours?