Thursday, 11 September 2014

Jhené Aiko - Souled Out Album Review + The Pressure [Video]

Jhené Aiko has succeeded in making a name for her self, her drifting music which has been delivered beautifully for over a decade now. From being a teen pop star, singing with the R&B group, B2K before heading back to school.
A child and a couple dramatic spells Jhené returned to the studio, releasing Sailing Soul in 2011, leading up to her Sail Out Ep in 2013 and now her debut album Souled Out.

Jhené Aiko works with top hip hop producers and song writers in the industry. An unexpected assist from Nordic-pop pioneers Royksöpp, who supplies one of their most muted productions to date with “Promises,” a gentle ode to Aiko’s daughter, Namiko — and her late brother.

Souled Out is personal, but that’s more than a buzzword: Embedded in the hazy melodies are vulnerable insights into Aiko’s private life, from her fears as a single mother to the death of her brother Miyagi two years ago. His loss vibrates through the album, including the slow-marching highlight “W.A.Y.S.” — which stands for “Why Aren’t You Smiling?”, Miyagi’s favorite saying. Aiko pledges to persevere for the sake of her daughter on the uplifting empowerment anthem, employing the Buddhist philosophies to which she subscribes to guide the way: “There’s really no end, there’s really no beginning/There’s really no real, there’s really no pretending,” she sings.

Jhené is a self-proclaimed wanderer, moving from place to place — and person to person: “Please say you’ll be my nothing/And I will give you everything,” she sings on the seductive “It’s Cool.” Not that she’s entirely free of catching feelings, as with “Lyin King,” a bass-heavy kiss-off to an ex-beau: “Mr. Serial Lover, I wish your mother loved you like I could’ve/That way you would’ve known how to love a woman,” she scolds. (Ouch.)

That kind of occasionally snappy lyricism keeps the otherwise gentle pulsations of Souled Out feeling fresh, employing expressions that wouldn’t sound out of place on, say, Rihanna’s Twitter timeline: “Have you seen my f–ks to give?” she deadpans on the “The Pressure,” a weed smoke-filled cut inspired by the stress of working on her LP. Flourishes of live instrumentation keep the record vibrant as well. “Brave” saunters into sad-girl Lana Del Rey territory with its Western hip-hop swagger and surf guitar (“You’re so brave, stone cold crazy for loving me”), while “Eternal Sunshine” — one of two songs inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — drifts in like a lullaby along a hypnotic piano riff.

Slow Burn Music.