Jhené Aiko: Trip Album Review
Contributing vocals to the likes of R&B’s early 2000’s super group B2K as early as 2003. It is testament to Jhene’s staying power that she’s still more than afloat in an industry that takes very few prisoners in 2017. At 29, she’s a lovely blend of R&B, neo soul & hip hop.
2011’s Sailing Soul mixtape received critical acclaim and really put her name on many of the genres followers and beyond it. It’s her matchless song writing constructions that has her peers purring at her inventive genius. 2014 came with the release of her first debut studio album Souled Out which featured Aiko’s diverse musical range. It was so atmospheric that you were placed right in the centre of her world.
Moving on swiftly to Trip, Jhene’s second studio album which continues her imaginative immersive music making. As per the title Aiko takes us on a hallucinogenic trip during the length and breadth of this record. The album marks a transformative moment in her career as she truly steps into her creative hub with a heart that knows no boundaries and a soul that embodies universal themes.
While We’re Young is just luxurious in its inception as it touches on the beauty of being deeply in love with a significant other and just throwing caution to the wind. Jhene’s vocals are sensitive and thought provoking and her delivery is absolutely on point as she sensationally croons seductively yet innocently. The production just fits the vocals with its almost day dreamy tempo.
OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive) is an upbeat almost disco type throwback track. Its heavy 808 drum background elevates Aiko’s vocals into a crescendo of exquisiteness. TWENTY88 steps in to provide a verse that fits snugly into the concept of this track in which the title speaks for itself.
Arguably the stand out song on this album is the quite brilliant When We Love. It finds Aiko in quite scintillating form as her vocals carry a quiet storm of sensuality and deep elation. This songs about unquestionably baring your soul to that special person in your life. The production is minimal yet there’s enough going onto help convey the feeling Jhene conjures. From the quiet piano piece to the intelligent use of the horn section is what really makes this a true sensation.
Swae Lee of Rae Stremmund combines delightfully with Aiko on Sativa. It’s bouncy in a laid back manner. It’s definitely one too get loose to as it’s such a chilled out feature that makes you want to just cool out. It’s on tracks like this Aiko really showcases her tranquil vocals that truly soothes the soul.
“Most of us are angry, Most of us are strangely, More alike than we’d like to believe, Most of us are empty, Most of us are simply, More alive in the scenes of our dreams.” It’s the intro to track New Balance. It’s beautifully poetic in its universal truths and when vocalised by Aiko it takes on an incredible form of healing. Another contender for song of the album as it takes on such a powerful themes such as the significance of somebodies love and real intentions in respect to a relationship.
Nobody feels like a the journey of self-awareness of the pain of a relationship that has failed and the scars you feel in the aftermath of anguish and pain. The production is brilliantly layered to capture the essence of Jhene’s soul.
Overstimulated & Bad Trip – Interlude both play on psychological breakdowns suffered from the distorted thoughts and feelings brought about by substance intoxication in the midst of a ruined love affair. Both are packaged in soulful earthy feel that really taps into basic rhythmic beat of the heart. Oblivion is the realisation that we are absolutely central to our suffering as Jhene sings “The worlds a fucking mess / it’s gone to shit / And I am every bit a part of it / I may have started it / I try to find a brighter sight / An elevated, higher sight / It’s out of sight.” Again it’s an powerful ensemble that really drives home the desperation of the mood whilst creating a space for gentle reflection.
The rest of the album is draped in mystical soul, fused with new wave R’nb. This album has to be a contender for album of the year with its searing deepness and honesty. The production finesses Aiko’s sound in a way that works to elevate her sound to spectacular levels. Give it a listen it may way heal your heart if you’re going through it.