REVIEW: Jhene Aiko Invites us on a TRIP

Trip

Trip, an album by Jhene Aiko on Spotify

Many of us have tripped at least once in our lives. Whether its over a bae, over a crack in the sidewalk or off some drugs your friends got from the bando across the street, you’ve taken an trip. Seasoned R&B crooner Jhene Aiko walks us through her recent Trip, a surprise album featuring 22 songs all sung in middle C according to Twitter. The album fronts a tripped out album cover, features from her bae Big Sean, Brandy, Swae Lee and more along with a short film and poem to accompany the experience.

In Trip, Jhene Aiko masters the “conceptual album” making love the reoccurring theme throughout all 22 songs. She touches on romantic love in Moments featuring Big Sean, family love, in LSD, mother-daughter love in Sing To Me featuring her daughter Namiko Love, and lost love in Never Call Me referencing her ex-husband. The project allows the listener not only interpert what kind of trip Jhene Aiko went on, but also the different layers of love she experienced throughout the making of the album.

We’ve received While We’re Young and a rough edit of New Balance earlier this year on Soundcloud, but the surprise album along with the movie and poem created a concise experience for the listener. Stand out tracks in the project include OLLA, an upbeat pop tune with a feature from Big Sean credited as TWENTY88. While Jhene has mastered her sound over the years, it’s refreshing to hear something new come from the well-versed singer. Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee also contributed to a stand out track, Sativa, giving us smooth harmonies from an artist we’ve heard hit a few notes, but proved his tone in this track.

In all, a new album from Jhene Aiko is always a blessing, but the lack of musical growth shows through all 22 songs. With the exception of OLLA, each song effortlessly runs into each other coming off as one extremely long song which isn’t uncommon coming from Jhene Aiko. Her voice is soothing, but can come off as monotone if you’re familiar with her past work including Sailing Souls and Souled Out. Jhene Aiko’s timing is perfect as she did release this album as a surprise (to us) during a period with a lane wide open for contemporary R&B while SZA kicked off her tour, Bryson Tiller ended his North American run, and Daniel Caesar, R.LumR and H.E.R already released music. There’s never a bad time to take a trip, so why not take one with Jhene Aiko.

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